March 11, 2016Filed Under: Car Accidents

Can I still sue if I’ve been charged by the police?

Can I still sue if I’ve been charged by the police?

Car accidents are traumatic and disorienting. Add to that a police officer who thinks you may have been responsible and things start getting complicated. The good news is you may still be able sue another driver, even if you’ve been charged by the police for the accident.

Police officers do their best to investigate accidents, trying to determine whether charges should be laid, but they’re human and sometimes make mistakes. An officer may choose to accept the word of another driver, even if it’s different than your version of the crash. Often the investigating police officer didn’t see the actual accident and may make decisions about who was at fault that are not correct. In Ontario you’re given a chance to prove to a judge that the police were wrong.

I had a case where the police officer charged my client for causing an accident by cutting off another car. But, when I was able to question the other driver, he admitted that my client had completed a turnand travelled some distance before the crash happened. I proved that the accident wasn’t my client’s fault and was able to recover damages for my client, even though he was originally charged.

Police cars blocking an intersection at night in Toronto.
Photo by Joseph Morris via CC BY-ND 2.0

Another factor to consider is that the police aren’t concerned with “contributory negligence” and often charge one driver, even if both drivers share responsibility for an accident. If you’ve been charged, but in fact the blame is shared with the other driver, you can still recover the part of your damages attributed to the actions of the other driver. For example, if the court decides you are each 50% responsible, you can recover 50% of your damages.

Each case varies, but you should never assume that you cannot sue simply because you were charged or the police officer told you it was your fault. If you find yourself in this position give us a call at 416-533-7133 and together we can look for a solution.

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