In personal injury cases, generally those resulting out of car crashes, a police report is often prepared by the officer responding to the scene. Police reports can provide useful information to you and your attorney; however, their use is limited in personal injury suits. To increase your chances of a successful award, it important to understand when you can and cannot use this valuable document.
In general, police reports are inadmissible in trial. The statements within the police report are considered hearsay because the officer did not personally observe the accident. However, the police report provides information that could be crucial to your case. Police reports may be used for settlement negotiations and can establish important facts of the circumstances surrounding the accident.
First, you must request the crash report from the police department. You can request your police report by calling the responding law enforcement agency. Once you receive your police report, you will have the specific details of the accidents such as, the date and time, the location, the weather, and names of any witnesses that may be able to testify about the crash.
In settlement, either with your insurance company or the other drivers, a police report placing the fault on the other driver could influence the insurance company to offer a better settlement. You will want to draft a demand letter which encompasses information from medical reports, police reports, documents stating you missed work due to your injury, medical bills, and other important documents. Included in your demand letter should be a summary of the incident causing your personal injury, a description of the injuries suffered, and a demand for compensation for such injuries. A police report describing you as the innocent party can evidence the other party’s fault and encourage the insurance company to settlement quicker.
Though a police report is not admissible to prove most of the things stated in the report, it is a very useful tool in personal injury cases. A demand letter is a great way to get the ball rolling in your case and attempt to avoid the lengthy trial process. It can also provide you the names of witnesses which may be key to receiving the compensation you deserve.