Police Accident Reports and the Hearsay Rules
After a personal injury accident, typically a motor vehicle accident, the police report is a crucial piece of evidence for establishing your claim. However, if your case goes to court, the police report is typically inadmissible due to hearsay rules.
What is Hearsay?
The hearsay rule is a fundamental legal rule that documents or testimony quoting another person is inadmissible. The court cannot judge the credibility of the first-hand witness and the other party is unable to cross-examine them or ask questions of a police report.
Because the police officer did not witness the accident, the report he or she generates is considered hearsay.
While police reports are categorized as “hearsay” in the courtroom, they are still valuable during out of court negotiations.
How to Use a Police Report in Your Personal Injury Claim
You cannot use the police report in court, but there are ways to use it while negotiating a settlement out of court – where most personal injury cases finalize anyway.
Police Reports and the Demand Letter
When you first hire a personal injury attorney, your attorney will issue the demand letter. The demand letter comes before filing the complaint to the courts. In that demand letter, a copy of the police report along with the medical records and costs associated with your injury go to the other party.
Your attorney uses the stack of evidence as leverage to receive a good settlement.
The Facts of a Police Report
Certain facts are valuable during settlement negotiations, and those facts are often in the police report.
Typically, the report cites which parties were involved, but also gives names of witnesses. These names give your attorney further evidence and people he or she can depose for a stronger case. Also, if the defendant received a traffic ticket at the scene, that will be listed in the police report, and your attorney can obtain the records for that citation – proving their negligence.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney to Leverage the Power of a Police Report
Personal injury advocates know how to use police reports and when to present them. Even if your case goes to trial, your attorney can find evidence and clues from that police report to gather admissible evidence for your case.
Contact an attorney from Udall Shumway, PLC today to learn more about your options for compensation.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you or someone you know wishes to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney regarding Hearsay Rules, or other personal injury matters, call Mesa AZ Personal Injury Attorney Clark R. Richter at 480-461-5321 or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation to discuss your rights and options. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.