What Part Does Police Report Play In Car Accident Settlement?

  • September 16, 2021

Whatever police officer has responded to the call about a car accident must interview those at the scene and take notes on that particular incident. Those notes should make their way into the officer’s report.

Ways to obtain the police report

Request a copy from the police department at the traffic division, the one closest to the spot where the collision took place. If possible, give the name or badge number for the responding officer. Be ready to pay the necessary fee. Ask the insurance adjuster about obtaining a free copy of the document that has come into the adjuster’s possession.

Facts included in police report

• Date, time and location of incident
• The contact information that was shared by the involved drivers
• Any witness statements, along with the witnesses’ contact information
• The location of damage on the involved vehicles
• The weather conditions; the road conditions
• A diagram of the accident site
• List of any violations made by any of the involved drivers

In addition to the facts, the report contains one opinion

After collecting all the facts and making a diagram of the scene, the responding officer states whom he or she thinks should be blamed for that particular accident.

The report’s ability to offer the officer’s opinion, regarding who was at-fault, makes it something of importance during pre-settlement negotiations.

Still, the insurance company does not have to accept the officer’s opinion. If the insurance company were to ignore that opinion, then it might deny the claim submitted by the driver of the vehicle that was hit by the negligent motorist.

In the case of a rear-end collision, there might be 3 involved vehicles. If the driver in the lead automobile were to claim that the other driver could have avoided a collision with that lead auto, then the insurance company might threaten to reduce the amount of money that had been requested by the driver of the sandwiched vehicle.

In that case, the driver that had received the threat might benefit from checking the police report. However, that would usually be a task assigned to a hired lawyer. A personal injury lawyer in Oak Park would understand how to handle such a challenge to the troubled claimant/client.

Could a police report serve as evidence at court?

Police reports can be used as evidence in a small claims court. However, in a larger courtroom, the judge would not allow admission of such a document. That is due to the fact that any reported statements would qualify as hearsay.

Hearsay comes from someone that did not witness the mentioned event. Judges never allow jurors to be exposed to hearsay. Judges are supposed to limit those actions that could later become grounds for an appeal.