In certain types of injury claims, such as car accidents, a police report may be one of the more critical pieces of evidence used to prove the legitimacy of your claim. While police reports are generally inadmissible if your case goes to trial, the report is still useful for negotiation during a personal injury settlement.
A police report is not used to prove that someone did something in the car accident. However, you can use that police report to negotiate your settlement early on.
First, you must request a car accident report from the police department. If there was an accident and police were dispatched, a report would have been created. You can call your local police department for the official report, but you may have to pay a fee to obtain it.
While the police report is not admissible at trial, it can be useful in negotiations. Prior to bringing your lawsuit to an attorney, you can gather other items to help improve the strength of your claim, such as:
When you bring these items to your attorney, they can then draft a demand letter. The demand letter will summarize the facts of the case, describe your injuries, and demand compensation from the responsible party for those losses. If the police report indicates that the other party was at fault for the accident, then that report can be used as leverage in the demand letter to obtain a better settlement from the at-fault party’s insurer.
A police car accident report does contain important information about your car accident case. It will specify the date of the incident, the weather conditions, names of witnesses, and other information regarding the circumstances of the accident itself. Your attorney can use witness information to contact and depose those witnesses for your case as well.
You may wonder why police reports are not inadmissible and, if they aren’t, why you should have one anyway. Most of the time a police report is considered “hearsay,” which means that it is inadmissible unless certain exceptions apply. This is because the police officer did not witness the accident themselves; instead, the report is based on witness statements as well as both parties’ statements. Hence, while the police officer’s record of the events will not constitute evidence to be used at trial, it may provide your attorney with a wealth of helpful information and evidence that could be used.
Regardless of whether your car accident report is admissible or not, you need to obtain the assistance of a personal injury attorney before filing your claim or even creating a demand letter. Speak with someone at the Law Offices of Kevin J. Roach, LLC today over a free consultation. You can schedule your appointment by calling 866-519-0085 or by filling out an online contact form.