What Part Does Police Report Play In Car Accident Settlement?

A police report could play a significant part in the creation of an insurance claim.

How could an injured accident victim obtain such a report?

That victim could request a paid copy from the police department that has drafted the report. The victim’s lawyer could ask the insurance adjuster for a copy of the same report.

Understand that the information that an officer has recorded contains both facts and opinions.

Details about the date, time and location of the accident would qualify as facts. A statement about who was at-fault would be an opinion. The officer’s opinion might not be the same as the opinion of the defendant’s insurance company. In the case of a 1st party claim, the officer’s opinion might not be the same as that of the adjuster at the policyholder’s insurance company.

If the insurance company has claimed that both drivers bear some of the responsibility for the accident, then the claimant might need to consult with a lawyer.

Such a situation describes the sort of circumstances that highlight the need for a lawyer’s assistance. Personal injury lawyers in Quincy appreciate the fact that an opinion does not hold as much weight as a factual detail. That appreciation helps them to do a better job of fighting an allegation that has been based on an opinion.

Insurance companies like to point to opinions and to suggest that some point made in that opinionated statement supports a charge that the claimant was partly responsible for the reported accident. Too often, claimants do not know how to protect their rights.

Does a police report have any role to play in courtroom proceedings?

No, judges do not allow the introduction of material from a police report, because it is viewed as hearsay. Hearsay is any statement that simply repeats what someone else has said. The officer that composed a record of the reported statement simply wrote down what someone else had said.

When recording that statement, the officer had no way of determining its level of veracity. The officer’s eyes had not witnessed the incident that would be reported in the officer’s logbook. The officer’s ears had not heard the sounds that were produced by the crash.

Judges appreciate that fact. Hence, those that make decisions from the bench normally decide against allowing introduction of any material that was contained in a police report. Still, some things that might have been recorded by an arriving officer could get mentioned in a courtroom. For instance, if either party had received a traffic ticket, evidence of that fact would exist in places other than the recorded message that was brought back to the police department. Hence, a ticket could become powerful evidence.