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Police Reports Can Help in Determining Fault

Police Reports Can Help in Determining Fault

Many motor vehicle accidents in Kansas involve traffic infractions. When drivers violate the traffic laws and cause an accident, they can be held liable for the personal injuries, wrongful deaths, and property damage their actions caused. In Kansas, a significant number of fatalities and personal injuries are caused by speeding, distracted driving, reckless driving, and other traffic infractions. When traffic infractions are a contributing cause to a motor vehicle accident, the courts can consider the police reports as evidence when determining fault for the accident.

The 2017 Kansas Traffic Crash Facts Book sheds light on the most common causes of accidents in Kansas and how police reports helped to determine fault and risk factors. Take a look at some of the data below:

Major Contributing Factors Recorded by Police Reports

Speed

Drivers are slowing down, but speed remains a common cause of motor vehicle fatalities and injuries. In 2007, Kansas recorded 9,495 speed related accidents that caused 102 fatalities and 3,988 personal injuries. As of 2017, those numbers had declined to 3,854 speed related accidents that caused 73 fatalities and 1,802 personal injuries. Over the past decade, there have been 65,956 speed related accidents in Kansas. These caused a total of 973 fatalities and 28,565 personal injuries.

Substance Abuse

Alcohol abuse is a common cause of motor vehicle accidents. In 2017, 1,993 accidents in Kansas involved drunk drivers. These accidents caused 90 fatalities and 1,023 personal injuries. Over the decade from 2007 through 2017, a total of 29,548 alcohol related accidents were recorded in Kansas. These caused 1,194 deaths and 17,177 personal injuries.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is declining but remains a problem in Kansas. In 2017, 1,017 instances of reckless driving caused 38 fatalities and 563 personal injuries. This was a decrease from the 1,205 reckless driving accidents recorded in 2016. However, the accidents were deadlier and the state recorded 14 more fatalities than 2016. Common forms of reckless driving include running red lights/stop signs, failing to use turn signals, failing to merge, etc.

Similarly, aggressive driving, often referred to as "road rage," caused 201 accidents that resulted in 1 fatality and 83 personal injuries. These numbers also saw a decline from the 225 accidents that caused 5 fatalities and 99 personal injuries in 2016. One reason for the sharp decline in aggressive/antagonistic driving accidents are intensified focus on tailgating, speeding, drunk driving, and incidents of "road rage" by law enforcement agencies in Kansas.

Officer Evasion

In Kansas, it is against the law to evade law enforcement. Even so, many drivers foolishly and flagrantly attempt to flee from the flashing red and blue lights behind them. In 2017, 250 accidents occurred as the result of police pursuits. These caused 7 fatalities and 129 personal injuries. Statewide, the number of accidents involving police pursuits has risen from 203 in 2015, to 244 in 2016, and 250 in 2017. From 2007 to 2017, 2,448 accidents involved police pursuits. These caused a total of 57 fatalities and 1,294 personal injuries.

When determining fault for a motor vehicle accident in Kansas, civil courts will allow introduction of a wide range of evidence. This can include police reports. These reports and testimony from law enforcement and first responders show how the actions of the driver created the conditions that caused, or contributed to causing the motor vehicle accident. Similarly, because drivers can face criminal penalties following traffic violations, plaintiffs can use evidence and verdicts from criminal trials as they pursue a civil suit against the defendant.

We are Brad Pistotnik Law. Hire the real Brad when it's time for determining fault for your Kansas motor vehicle accident. Call in the Bull.® Call us at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on or local line at 316-684-4400. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL.