Following a car accident, the police officer at the scene of the action will prepare a police report documenting the time and location of the car accident, the parties involved, their insurance information, and any witnesses to the accident. While a police report is inadmissible when a case goes to court, it can still prove useful in personal injury cases. Learn about the ways a police report can help your case in an injury claim and how a personal injury lawyer can help.
“Hearsay” and Police Reports
While police reports provide useful information regarding the accident, the various parties, and contact information for any witnesses, these reports are often not allowed in a court case. This is because reports are considered “hearsay”, leading them to be inadmissible in a trial. Hearsay is an unsworn statement that cannot adequately serve as evidence.
The primary reason for why police reports are not allowed in court is that the police officer that made the report did not witness the actual accident. Without information from someone with full knowledge of an accident, the statement is only the police officer’s opinion of what happened. In addition, the report is not required to allow for cross-examination in court.
How a Police Report Can Be Used in Injury Cases
As noted, police reports aren’t usually allowed to be introduced in an injury case. However, there are several ways that a report can be used in the earlier stages of a claim. These steps include:
- Request A Police Record. An incident report should be requested from the police department if you are injured and there is a known report regarding the accident. These can be collected online or by directly calling the law enforcement agency that was on scene at the time of the incident prepared a report.
- Using Records From Police in Settlement Negotiations. Police records can play a major role in negotiations for personal injury settlements. All necessary information, including medical and police reports as well as other records and a demand letter, should be collected before filing a lawsuit. If the police report shows fault by the other driver/entity, this can be used as leverage in a potential settlement.
- Determine Important Facts From Reports. A police report often provides key case information including incident date, weather, witnesses and other data related to your accident. With witnesses, they can be called on to testify at a trial or deposition. This can be a major advantage in a case as they can provide direct observations of what happened, which can be used in a case.
Car Accident Lawyers and Police Reports
Having a reputable lawyer working with you after an accident can be a major help whether your case involves a trial or a settlement. They can collect all necessary data from police reports to medical records, and can advise you on future steps to take regarding legal representation.
Since 1988, Peter N. Davis & Associates, LLC has provided quality legal services for auto accident victims in New Jersey since 1988. to provide them the representation they deserve. From medical to financial to insurance issues, we work to help get you through the legal issues needed for your case. For more information about our firm and how police reports can affect your auto accident case, call us at (877) 470-8948 or visit us online today.