If you’ve been involved in a car accident in which you are not at fault, an official police report can help you in your personal injury case. Of course, in addition to a police report, you will want to consult a qualified car accident lawyer to help you with your case. If your case goes to court, police reports often become inadmissible, so it’s important to have a lawyer on your side to help you through the process. In this article, we’ll explain the importance of obtaining a police report in the event of a car accident and how a qualified car accident attorney can help.
Requesting a Police Report
The officers who respond to the scene of an accident will write up an official report that will prove to be useful at the start of your personal injury claim. This official report will usually hold up better than an unofficial report, which is created by one or more of the parties involved in a car accident.
You can easily request an official report of the accident from the police department. There are online record request services, or you can call the agency that was present at the scene and completed the report. Either way, this is essential if you’ve been injured in the accident.
How You Can Use a Police Report in Settlement Negotiations
Once settlement negotiations begin, you should gather all official reports of the incident, medical documents, and other relevant records. Using this information, you can draft a demand letter which outlines the facts of the incident, describes your injuries and demands appropriate compensation for said injuries.
Police reports that claim the other driver was at fault will help you with your settlement. The report will likely provide pertinent information regarding your case. This information may include details about the weather, the date of the accident, the names of witnesses, statements from witnesses and other evidence to support your case. If the names of witnesses are provided, you have the option to ask them to testify should the case go to trial. Thus, while you cannot use the police report in court, you can use the resources within the report to help your personal injury case.
Why Police Reports Cannot Be Used in Court
You may be wondering why police reports are deemed inadmissible in court. Ultimately, these reports are considered “hearsay.” This term is used to describe a statement made outside of court that is used inside of the courtroom to prove the truth of the matter asserted in that statement.
Since the officer who wrote the report did not actually witness the accident, it’s considered hearsay. In the courtroom, the officer’s report is viewed as an opinion of the accident, not fact.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
If your case cannot be settled outside of court, a personal injury lawyer can help. He or she will help you gather the necessary evidence to make sure you receive the compensation you need to get back to normalcy.