The Investigating Officer in Your Car Accident Case
Posted By Garrett Riley || Sep 17, 2012
Sometimes an investigating officer of a car accident can be used as an accident reconstructionist in a personal injury case. A law enforcement officer can be qualified as an expert witness in accident reconstruction through testimony regarding the officer’s knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education in investigating car accidents. No formal degree is required, but some officers do possess accreditation from professional organizations for accident reconstruction.
Once qualified as an expert, the officer can testify to anything within that area of expertise, however the officer cannot testify as to whether any drivers received a traffic citation or not, as this may have a prejudicial effect on the jury. Also, because of Florida’s accident report privilege, statements made pursuant to the requirement to give information for an automobile crash report cannot be used as evidence in a civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding.
If your personal injury case is going to trial, you will need to discuss with your Tampa injury attorney the costs and the benefits of having the investigating officer in your case testify at your trial in light of what he can legally testify to regarding the accident. This decision will involve analyzing the officer's level of experience, what exactly the officer did at the accident scene, and whether the officer can add any useful evidence or opinions that will be helpful for the jury in reaching a verdict in your favor.