(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this car accident case and its proceedings.)
Likewise, in the present case, any conclusions reached by the police officer who investigated the accident should not be allowed by this court. More specifically, the officer’s opinions and conclusions in the police report or in the form of testimony should not be allowed.
In Francis v. Sauve (1963) 222 Cal.App.2d 102, the court analyzed the issue in greater detail. The court reiterated that a police officer may testify as to the point of impact when his opinion is based upon percipient observations. The court discussed its refusal to admit into evidence expert opinions in traffic accident cases where the factors involved are too varying and too indefinite to constitute the basis of an opinion, such as the probable course of the cars after impact (Fishman v. Silva (1931) 116 Cal.App. 1). For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
Moreover, this issue was litigated during the State Farm’s motion for summary adjudication, which was denied. The defense attempted to have the issue of whether there was insurance coverage decided by the California Highway Patrol officer. State Farm’s UMF #6 and plaintiff’s objection:
6. Officer David Smith determined at the scene of the accident that Plaintiff Hank Choo is the owner of the 2000 Range Rover driven by plaintiff.
6. Objection: Police officer’s determination of ownership is irrelevant. Waller v. Southern Cal. Gas Co. (1959) 170 Cal.App.2d 747, 755
State Farm’s motion for summary adjudication was denied and therefore they should not be able to back-door the trial judge by submitting the officer’s opinion at trial. In the present case, any opinions and/or conclusions stated on the Traffic Collision Report concerning the ownership of the vehicle driven by plaintiff should be excluded. Moreover, any testimony of the investigating officer which amounts to the officer’s opinions or conclusions concerning the ownership of the vehicle should also be excluded. Defendant should not be permitted to tell the jury what Officer Smith concluded, in a back door attempt to sidestep this court’s ruling. (See Part 3 of 3.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.