Car Accident Lawyer
A crash report — or police report — is created by an officer who arrives at the scene of an automobile accident. This report contains information about the accident, including what opinions they hold and what facts were present at the time. If you’ve filed an insurance claim as the result of an accident, your insurance company will likely ask you for a copy of this report for their records. You may be wondering how you even get a copy of the report, and if you can use it in court.
How Can I Get the Report?
There are two basic ways to get the police report in question. If you request a copy from the agency who drafted the report, they may want to charge you quite a bit of money for it. Generally, the officer who arrived at the scene will give you a ticket with an identification number on it before he leaves the accident. This receipt should also contain information about where to call to request a copy.
If you would rather not have to pay a fee for the report, you can see if the claims rep from your insurance company has already requested a copy for themselves, and have them provide a copy to you. Regardless of how you go about it, you may have to wait for a few weeks before you receive the report yourself. This allows time for the officer to officially complete the report and file it.
Are These Reports Admissible in Court?
Police reports are often used during settlement negotiations with insurance companies. Having a police report submitted as evidence in court for a lawsuit, however, may not hold as much weight as you think.
If your case is being heard in small claims court, police reports are usually accepted as evidence in the case. Judges will normally allow the use of police reports to explain what happened in a legal sense. If your case goes to trial in a circuit court, however, the police report may fall under “hearsay” evidence. Hearsay evidence is typically viewed as statements that were made out of court — which is what a police report technically is. This will depend on the jurisdiction, however. Certain jurisdiction may categorize the police report as public or business records instead.
If you have been in a car accident, contact an experienced car accident lawyer, like a car accident lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT, right away. They will be able to explain the rules regarding police reports and court admissibility for your specific situation. Additionally, they can help you seek compensation for your injuries or damages as a result of the car accident.
Thanks to Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into the role of a police report in a car accident case.