Between our auto accident inquiries and my criminal law partner, Richard James, inquiries for moving violations and other vehicle related crimes/tickets, we sometimes get accident scenarios where the client looks at fault or clients seriously injured in car accidents but were given a citation or even arrested for reckless driving. When this happens, and it has happened quite a bit recently, we always separate the parts of the case and attack them individually. Then we see what happens. Sometimes, as with the cases below, we can turn lemons into lemonades.
RECKLESS DRIVING / SPEEDING / LANED ROADWAY VIOLATION
Rich signed up a client who was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving and multiple moving citations following a very serious auto accident on Route 95 near Westerly. He was very badly injured in the accident including an airlift by rescue with multiple fractures and a collapsed lung. The police completed an accident reconstruction but in so doing jumped to conclusions and used junk science to show our client was speeding and driving recklessly. We retained our expert witness, an accident deconstructionist, who was able to prove that the science the police used during their reconstruction was completely false. With his help we were also able to show that while our client was driving too fast, the accident was caused because the other vehicle changed lanes, sideswiping our client and causing him to lose control of his vehicle. Even though the police report was completely against our client we were successful in reducing the charges against him and able to obtain a personal injury settlement against the driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash.
On the woodsy windy roads of Kingston, RI, our client was involved in a head on collision. The evidence suggests that the other vehicle came over the double yellow line but because of a witness who alleges our client was swerving in and out of his lane, the police were quick to jump to a DUI finding and a finding that our client went over the double yellow line causing the collision. Again, our client was very seriously injured. The DUI is still pending in criminal court, but a deposition of the witness has shown that his vantage point was completely useless and that his view on a dark night could never have positively identified which car drove left of center. We have also presented our case for settlement against the other driver. The position of the vehicles support that not only was our client not at fault, but the other driver came completely into his lane.
MULTIPLE MOVING VIOLATIONS
Our client was on a motorcycle when he struck a vehicle that came out of a driveway and failed to yield his right of way. It looked like a fairly easy case except that the police gave our client multiple moving violations for speeding, lane changes, etc. These charges were dropped, however, when we were able to establish that the copy who cited our client for speeding only saw the client speeding one mile down the road and could not prove he was speeding at the time of the accident. Furthermore, since the driver of the vehicle entered the roadway when it was not safe to do so, a settlement is in negotiations with his insurer.
INCORRECT POLICE REPORT / CLIENT HAD APPEARANCE OF FAULT
My client was struck head on in an auto accident. When we obtained a copy of the police report, we found that the cop concluded our client was at fault and went over the double yellow line. The problem with the report is that the cop did nothing to investigate the facts and did not specify on what he based his conclusion. Further, since my client only spoke Spanish, he did not even bother to speak to her to obtain her side of the story. We retained our expert witness, an auto accident reconstructionist, and he was able to show that the cops conclusions were completely false and that there was absolutely no way that my client went left of center. He was able to prove that the final resting position of the cars showed without a doubt that it was in fact the other driver who went over the double yellow line and struck my client head on. My client went from a liability denial and $0 offer to a six figure settlement.
A COUPLE OF CONCLUSIONS
- Sometimes, things are not always as they appear and they merit a 2nd look;
- Police reports are often wrong, are subjective and can be contradicted by the evidence;
- A person seriously injured in an auto accident should always call my office to discuss their case (even in times like these above where it looks like they might be at fault). We love a good fight;
- Citations, and even misdemeanors, do not always bar someone from collecting damages in an auto accident.