This page has been written for the purposes of legal education. Its purpose is to present in a general and simplified manner the law in force in Quebec concerning police powers and duties, your obligations as citizens and advice when you believe that a police officer writes an accident report that he or she knows to be false or inaccurate. Its content should therefore not be construed as legal advice or advice. To find out the specific rules or advice appropriate to your situation, consult a lawyer.
Not all traffic accidents require a police response. Minor accidents may not require police intervention.
The duties of police officers who respond to a traffic accident include investigating the cause of the accident, protecting the scene, directing traffic if necessary and writing an accident report.
No. When a police officer is called to the scene of an accident and completes an accident report, the report consists solely of his or her observations. The officer has a great deal of autonomy in how he or she forms an opinion about the causes of a traffic accident and what opinions he or she is called upon to form as a result.
Whether it is a joint report or a police officer's accident report, these documents are used to describe what happened and to record any other important information. It does not establish who was at fault for the accident. Therefore, police officers do not have the authority to assess which driver was at fault for the accident.
The power to investigate the car accident and determine who is at fault rests with the insurance companies. Insurers rely on specific criteria to determine the liability of the parties involved in the accident.
Since the insurer's criteria are not the same as the police's, a citizen could be held responsible for an accident even if he or she followed the Highway Safety Code to the letter, or conversely, not be held responsible for an accident even if he or she violated the Highway Safety Code. If a police officer gives you a ticket while responding to the scene of an accident, it does not mean that your insurer will hold you responsible for the accident.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should remain at the scene, exchange information with the other driver(s) and call the police if necessary.
You are not required to call the police after a car accident unless there are injuries or one of the people involved is involved in a hit and run. Once you have ensured that no one is injured and that the vehicles involved have been moved to a safe location, you can complete a joint report with the driver of the other vehicle involved. Drivers with a cell phone are encouraged to take pictures of the vehicles in the position of impact. This will help determine the responsibility of the drivers. Then you should contact your insurance company to make your claim.
If the police respond to the scene of the accident, you must provide them with your name, address, insurance information and a description of what happened. You are legally required to provide the police with the information they need to complete their accident report. However, you can ask if the information the police officer is asking for will be used for an accident report or for a criminal investigation. If it is for a criminal investigation, you do not have to say anything.
If you witness a motor vehicle accident, you should remain at the scene if possible and give a statement to the police if they become involved. You should also offer assistance to anyone who may be injured.
If you ask for a police officer's involvement following an automobile accident and you disagree with the observations contained in his or her accident report, you will have the opportunity to present your version of the facts to the insurer along with your evidence.
A police officer is not necessarily in breach of duty if he or she makes a mistake or forgets certain information when writing an accident report, since he or she relies solely on his or her observations at the time to complete the report. It is not his responsibility to conduct a proper investigation.
However, section 8 of the Code of Ethics of Quebec Police Officers states that a police officer must not make a recommendation or report to a person that he knows to be false or inaccurate. Evidence must therefore be brought forward to support the fact that the police officer intentionally created an accident report containing information that he or she knows to be false or inaccurate.
What can I do if I believe the police officer has submitted an accident report to me that he or she knows is false or inaccurate?
Yes, the police can issue tickets or lay charges following a motor vehicle accident if they determine that a Highway Safety Code violation has occurred, which is different from determining who is at fault for the accident.
If you do not agree with a traffic ticket or the charges laid as a result of a traffic accident, you can contest the charges in court.
If you want more information or if you need help drafting your complaint, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org