Using Police Reports as Evidence in a Car Accident Case
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on August 29, 2019 in Car Accidents News
One piece of advice that you will receive after a car accident is to report the incident to the police. A police report may contain vital information that can help when filing a claim. Additionally, you will likely need the report to help prove that an accident occurred. The insurance adjuster handling the claim will ask you to provide a copy of the police report before offering to settle your claim. For these reasons and more, a police report is an important piece of evidence in a car accident case.
If you have been involved in a car accident and are seeking answers about the claims process, reach out to one of our licensed New Jersey car accident attorneys at Lynch Law Firm for legal help today.
Useful Information in a Police Report
Police officers are trained to assess an accident and may have extensive experience in investigating various types of collisions. A police report may include vital information that can help your claim and can assist you in proving liability for compensation. Your police report may contain useful information like:
- Details about the accident – At the top of the police report, the date, time and location of the accident will be provided. This can establish that the collision occurred.
- Contact information – The police report will also contain contact information for you, the other driver, passengers and any witnesses. It will also contain information about the other driver’s insurance company and policy. You will need this information to make a claim about the accident. Be sure that you personally request this information from the other parties at the scene so that you have the information immediately and can make your claim.
- Narrative of events – The police officer will interview you and the other driver and summarize these statements on the report. The officer may also reach his or her own conclusions and include these in the report.
- Weather and road conditions – The officer may make statements regarding the weather and road conditions that may have contributed to the accident.
- Citations – If the police officer concluded that the other driver violated a traffic law and cited him or her, this information may be included in the police report.
- Injuries – If emergency services were called or you reported an injury at the scene, the law enforcement officer may also include this information in the report.
How Can a Police Report Help My Case?
A police report can help you in a number of ways, including the following:
- Strengthen your negotiations – Insurance adjusters often put substantial weight on police reports because they are objective. Your attorney will point to the information in the report that validates your version of events to help prove the other driver is responsible for the accident.
- Lead to additional evidence – The police report may include witness contact details or other details that can help your attorney track down evidence in your case.
- Provide the officer’s perspective – If the case goes to trial, the police report will be useful for the officer as reference to remind him or her of the facts of the case.
Are Police Reports Admissible in Court as Evidence?
Police reports are generally not admissible in court as evidence. They may be admitted in small claims courts that do not observe all of the rules of evidence. However, state courts will generally follow the rules of evidence and may consider the police report as “hearsay.” In some courts, a police report may be considered an exception to the hearsay rule. It may be necessary to have the officer appear in court and testify instead.
Discuss Your Circumstances With a Lawyer Now
If you are unsure if you are eligible to file a car accident claim, we encourage that you contact a lawyer at our firm. He or she will review the details of your accident and determine the legal options that may be available for your specific situation. We offer free consultations and are available 24/7 to chat.
Contact us today at (800) 518-0508 for more information on how we can help.