The aftermath of a personal injury incident can seem like a blur, especially if you have sustained any injuries. But it is important to maintain your clarity long enough to contribute to a police report and find out how you can get the police report after it is filed. In some parts of the country, police cars come equipped with small printers that can produce a police report on the spot. No matter how you get your police report, it is important to have one to help you with your personal injury case.
Using A Police Report In Court
A police report cannot be used as evidence in a civil court during a trial, but that does not mean that a police report is useless. A police report is still an official account of an incident, and it can be used as part of a packet of information in negotiations prior to a case going to court. Most personal injury cases are settled out of court, and a police report can be used in those negotiations as information to back up one side or the other.
A good police report can help an attorney to understand what really happened in a particular accident, and help that attorney to put together a better case. One area where a police report can be very helpful is in identifying witnesses to the incident. A lawyer cannot always rely on their client to collect the names and contact information for witnesses at the scene of an accident. But one of the first things a police officer will do is talk to witnesses, take their statements, and collect their contact information so the attorney can talk to them personally.
Understand That The Police Report May Not Always Help
We mentioned earlier that a police report is not admissible as evidence in a civil court, and there is a very good reason for that. Since the police officer arrived on the scene after the accident occurred, anything the officer writes about the actually accident is not first-hand knowledge. The courts consider police reports hearsay instead of reliable accounts, and that is why courts do not utilize police reports as evidence.
The idea that a police report is not considered a reliable account of the accident is good to keep in mind because using the report could work against you. A police report, in many aspects, is an opinion of how the accident happened. While a police officer is experienced in identifying aspects of an accident, that officer’s opinion can easily be challenged by an experienced insurance investigator. Even if the situation winds up being the officer’s word against the word of someone involved in the accident, there is no guarantee the officer’s account will be accepted.
A police report can be a valuable tool in helping a personal injury attorney to understand the events that took place during and after a personal injury accident. The police report also holds important information such as the date and time of the accident, as well as access to witness information. If you are ever in a personal injury accident, then be sure to contribute to the police report and ask how you can get a copy of the report for your attorney.