Can an insurance company ignore a police report?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an insurance company ignore a police report?

I filed a claim with Erie Insurance after their Insured struck my vehicle in a
roundabout. Both mine and the insured statements to the police suggested that it
was Failure to Yield on the Insured’s part that was the primary cause of the
accident. Erie has denied payment of my property damage because of conflicting
details. They have disregarded the police report saying that it is wrong and so they
are treating the case as a ‘word vs. word’ situation.

I am seeking payment through small claims court. Do I sue the at fault driver, or
Erie Insurance?

Asked on April 11, 2017 under Accident Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The police report is NOT legally binding: it is essentially nothing more than the polices' opinion. Granted, it can be a persuasive opinion and powerful evidence in a trial, since the police are neutral, are trained, are experienced, etc., but at the end of the day, that's all it would be: evidence or testimony from a good source. Therefore, the insurer can disregard it, though as stated, should you sue, the report (and testimony of the officer who drafted it) can be powerful evidence for you.
You sue the at-fault driver--you don't sue his insurer. The insurer has no direct duty or obligation to you: they insure *him*, not you. It is at-fault driver who breached or violated his duty of care and so can be liable to you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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