If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s likely that you’re collecting important documents and gathering evidence for legal and insurance purposes. As you comb through all of your information, it may not occur to you to request a copy of the police report from your accident. Police reports aren’t admissible evidence if your case goes to court, but they can still provide information that is invaluable to your case.
Request a Copy of Your Car Accident Police Report
When you get into a car accident, especially if you were injured in the accident, you should request a copy of the police report from the appropriate law enforcement agency. You can obtain a copy of the report by calling the particular agency directly, calling your local police department or possibly even requesting a copy online. Keeping a copy for your own records is always a good idea, and it can be essential to your case if you are involved in an injury lawsuit against the other party.
What Can You Do With a Police Report?
If you’re filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party that caused your car accident injuries, the police report can be very helpful. Police reports contain important details about your car accident like the names of any witnesses, the date and time of the incident and even what the weather was like when it happened.
Along with the police report, you want to gather other records relevant to your claim, like your medical bills and records. Use these documents to draft your letter demanding compensation for your injuries. You can also reference these documents in settlement negotiations. For example, if the police report documents that the other party involved was at fault, you can use this during the negotiations process.
What Can’t You Do With a Police Report?
While police reports are useful tools during your demand letter and settlement negotiations process, you are not allowed to use police reports as evidence in a courtroom. Police reports are technically “hearsay” since the officer who made the report likely wasn’t present at the time of the accident. Hearsay is an unsworn statement that describes another person’s actions or statements told by someone without direct knowledge of the event that is given out of court.
Police reports are created by officers based on their observations after the accident. As the officer on the scene would not have witnessed the actual events leading up to the accident, their reports are considered hearsay. You can, however, call upon any witnesses listed in the police report to testify at your trial. So while you can’t use the information in the police report, you can use the testimony of the documented witnesses.
Contact Lewis & Keller
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, consult one of our professional attorneys here at Lewis & Keller, proudly serving the Greensboro and Winston-Salem, N.C. regions. Our team of expert attorneys has over 150 years of collective legal experience. Let us help you fight for your legal rights — contact us today.