You’ve just been in a car accident. You’re shaken, confused, and maybe injured, but you still have the presence of mind to wait for a police officer to take your statement and the statement of the other driver, which will be used to generate a police report (Illinois Traffic Crash Report) – the official record of what happened. But when the police report finally arrives, you’re shocked to discover that you are listed as Unit 1. You have heard that this means that you are at fault for the accident. Are you? Not necessarily.
Being Listed as Unit 1
When police are called upon to complete an Illinois Traffic Crash Report to detail a car accident, the driver believed to be more at fault for the incident will typically be listed as Unit 1. However, that police report does not necessarily present a completely accurate picture of the accident. In most cases, the responding officer will not have witnessed the crash itself. Instead, that officer will be piecing together what happened based on the statements of the drivers involved.
If the other driver presents a more convincing version of events to the police officer, that version of events may ultimately be reflected in the final Illinois Traffic Crash Report, however inaccurate it may be. Thus, you may find yourself wrongfully listed as Unit 1 on the police report, even though the other driver may have actually been at fault for the car accident.
All the Evidence Matters
Because a police report is usually created by an officer who did not witness the accident firsthand, it is not the only basis for determining the cause of a collision. In fact, in Illinois, police reports are typically not admissible as evidence in the courtroom. (“The actual admission of a police accident report as substantive evidence would generally be error.” Morgan v. Rogers, 30 Ill. App. 3d 346, 350 (1st Dist. 1975)).
Ultimately, whether or not you have been listed as Unit 1, all the evidence matters when deciding who was at fault for a car accident. This evidence may include eyewitness testimony, forensic examination of the points of impact, accident reconstruction, and video footage. By gathering and presenting all the evidence, you may be able to prove to the insurance companies what really happened, not just what the police report claims happened.
Chicago Car Accident Lawyers
As you can see, while it is better not to be listed as Unit 1 on a police report, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot pursue a successful personal injury claim, provided the facts are in your favor. Given the complex nature of gathering the relevant evidence and using it to build a successful personal injury claim, many injured drivers who have been wrongfully listed as Unit 1 find that they may benefit from the help of an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer, like the Chicago car accident lawyers at GWC Injury Lawyers, Illinois’ largest Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firm.
If you have been wrongfully injured, please contact GWC today for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.