In the moments directly following a car accident, there are a few things that you must do to make sure that you get the compensation that you need. While most people are aware of the importance of gathering insurance and contact information from the other driver, fewer people understand that getting a copy of the police report is equally as important.
When you’re planning a personal injury lawsuit, a police report can be an invaluable source of information, and neglecting to get a copy of the report can interfere with the success of your case. Learn more about why you need a copy of your police report after a car accident and how a car accident attorney can use the report to build your case.
Collecting Your Report
Many people assume that getting a copy of the police report stemming from their accident will be difficult. Fortunately, getting police report copies is actually very easy as long as you have the right information. The only thing that you need to know is the law enforcement agency that responded to your accident, usually the state police or highway patrol. With this information, you can call the agency and request a copy of your police report.
It may also be possible to request a copy of your report over the internet if the law enforcement agency provides this service. With a copy of your report in hand, you can start working on your personal injury lawsuit.
Ways You Can Use a Police Report
When you have a copy of your police report, you have access to vital information that you will need when planning your personal injury lawsuit. In addition to vital information about the other driver, your police report will often contain the contact information of witnesses and information about the circumstances surrounding your accident, including the weather.
Police reports can also be useful when you are entering into settlement negotiations. If your report indicates the fault of the other driver, your personal injury attorney can use your report as leverage to help you receive a higher settlement amount.
Police Reports and Court Cases
Although a police report can be useful in the planning and negotiation stages of a personal injury lawsuit, the benefits of having your report are limited if your case actually makes it to court. In a court case, police reports are considered ‘hearsay’ and will be deemed inadmissible evidence. The reason for this is that your report was written after the accident occurred, which means the responding officer did not witness the accident themselves.
However, as mentioned, your police report will likely include contact information for eyewitnesses. Since they eyewitnesses viewed your accident first-hand, their testimony usually will be admissible in a court case.
Get Legal Help After a Car Accident
Immediately after a car accident has occurred, you need to start thinking about the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit, which means you need to gather evidence. While it can’t be used in court, having a copy of your police report can be integral to the success of your case. To get advice on how to best use a police report after your car accident, you should hire a lawyer from Braker White.
Alongside their legal team, Robert White and Greta Braker can help you find the most important facts in your police report and plan your personal injury lawsuit. Tell us about your car accident case and find out how we can work for you.