Car accidents are bad enough, but if you’ve been injured in a collision, the situation quickly becomes worse. If you were not at fault for the accident, chances are you can receive compensation for your medical bills and other damages.
However, in some cases, the negligent driver or an insurance company will try and fight you on the settlement amount. In cases that aren’t so clear-cut, an official police report can provide you with needed support.
Let’s take a look at exactly why it’s so important to obtain a police report after a car accident.
Police Reports Provide Important Details
When an officer arrives at the scene of the accident, he or she will take note of any information that might be pertinent to the case. For example, a police report will have details regarding the date of the incident, what the weather was like, names and statements from witnesses and other information about the accident.
While a police report is inadmissible in court, you can use the names of the witnesses to call them to come in and testify about their own observations and accounts of what happened.
Using Police Reports in Settlement Negotiations
Police reports are also a great tool for settlement negotiations. If you’re working on negotiations for your personal injury settlement prior to filing a lawsuit, you should gather important documents such as your medical records, any relevant police reports, and other useful information.
In your demand letter, you can summarize the facts of the case. Describe your injuries and demand compensation for them. You can also use the police report as a valuable settlement tool, especially if it indicates that the other driver was at-fault. Although not admissible in court, this report can be used as leverage to receive adequate compensation from the at-fault person’s insurance company.
Why Isn’t a Police Report Admissible in Court?
Ultimately, police reports are considered hearsay in a court of law. Hearsay is defined as a statement made outside of court that is offered in court in order to prove that the statement is the truth. In other words, hearsay is typically a statement made outside of the courtroom by a person without direct knowledge of the incident.
Since the police officer is only reporting on what evidence is available after the accident and didn’t actually witness what happened, their statements cannot be regarded as absolute truth. A police report may have a witness statement saying that Driver X hit Driver Y, but the notes about this conversation cannot be used in court. Instead, the witness must relay what he or she saw regarding the collision while inside of a courtroom. This way, the statement can be subject to cross-examination.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Assist You
If you’ve been injured in an accident, a qualified lawyer can help you receive fair compensation for your injuries. The professionals at Stewart Bell, PLLC can take a look at your acquired documents, including police reports, and direct you on the next best steps to take. Please contact us today so we can discuss the details of your case. We look forward to working with you.