Why You Need a Police Report After a Crash
A police report is helpful for a car accident claim, but it is not an absolute must. Victims can still be eligible for financial compensation, even without a police report. Nonetheless, there are many reasons why they should call the authorities to the scene of an accident.
Police Reports Are Inadmissible
There is no legal requirement to have a police report when filing an insurance claim for car accident injuries. Police reports are not the deciding factor if a case goes to a jury. A police report is considered hearsay, and it is inadmissible as testimony as to the cause of the accident. There is nothing to stop an accident victim from filing his or her own report about the accident. There are other ways accident victims can gather evidence that could be used to prove their claim. A car accident lawyer could investigate and build a case based on witness testimony, photos and videos, and other evidence from the scene that could carry weight with the jury.
Police Reports Could Be Helpful
Nonetheless, there are many ways that a police report could be helpful for a claim. It could be a useful roadmap to proving a case. Even though the report is not definite proof of what occurred, it can carry significant weight if the case goes to court and it could help speed the injury claims process outside of court as well. The police officer has credibility as an objective third party.
Even if the officer did not see the accident, he or she can record any observations of the accident scene as the officer saw it. This includes what he or she noted about the drivers involved and the wreckage caused by the accident. The police officer may even include pictures that are helpful to give context about the accident. The report could include what the police noticed about the conditions in the area at the general time of the accident. Finally, it could include what witnesses reported seeing during the accident.
The police officer does not have the legal authority to decide who was responsible for the accident. The police report is best used as a record that could bolster some of the claims that an accident victim is making about how the crash occurred.