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5 Things You Need To Know About Police Reports

Police Officer with Report

Police reports are completed after car accidents that result in injury, major property damage, or death. They’re important records, yet many people don’t know much about them.

5. It’s Not Admissible As Evidence In a Trial

Motorcycle Accident Lawyers - Learning to Deal With Legal Issues

Police reports are meant to be a concise and objective summary of events, containing basic contact information of the parties involved in the accident, witness statements, and information about the accident itself. However, depending on the jurisdiction, police reports are not usually admissible as evidence in court. Since the police officer typically did not witness the accident firsthand, police reports are considered “hearsay,” which cannot be used in court.

4. You Can Ask For A Copy Of It Whenever You Want (And It’s Free)

free police report

Typically, to obtain a police report, you must make an official request, and mail or deliver the request to the relevant police department. The police department may charge you a small fee for processing the documents.

However, if you have been involved in a car accident, TorkLaw offers a free copy of your police report. Fill out this form on our website, and we will order your police report and deliver it at no cost to you, whether or not you choose our firm to represent you.

3. Being Listed As “At Fault” Is Not A Death Sentence — Or Even Proof Of Fault

Determining fault

The police report includes the officer’s assessment of fault, based on the relevant information, including photographs and witness statements. When you file a claim with the appropriate auto insurance company,  you will send them the police report, and they will conduct their own investigation.

Sometimes, the final assessment of fault by the insurance company may differ from that of the police. However, the insurance company investigation will rely heavily on the police report. Therefore, it is important to ensure your police report is accurate.

2. It Can Contain Mistakes

Police report mistakes

Errors in police reports fall into these categories:

  • A factual mistake: Simple, easily verifiable mistakes, such as listing the wrong model of car, are normally easy to have corrected.
  • A mistake in judgment: It is more difficult to change information that is the result of an officer’s mistake in judgment. Your best course of action is to ask for your own version of events to be added.
  • Incomplete information: If you find additional or overlooked evidence that was not included in the police report, and it does not contradict the officer’s testimony, it may be easy to add.
  • You made an incorrect statement due to confusion or disorientation: If you feel the statements you made immediately after the accident are not reliable because you were in pain or disoriented, you should provide medical records to show that you were not in control of your mental faculties at the time.

1. Those Field Sketches Aren’t Particularly Accurate

police report

The sketch on the report might look pretty official, they are not drawn to scale, and are rarely the best depiction of the accident scene. An experienced accident attorney will hire an accident reconstruction expert to create a much more accurate and compelling visual representation of the accident.

If you’ve been in an accident, an experienced car accident lawyer can help you make sure you are fairly compensated for your injuries. Use the form on this page to speak with an attorney who can review your case.

Reza Torkzadeh - California Personal Injury Lawyer

A highly regarded and well-respected trial lawyer, author and speaker, Reza Torkzadeh is the founder and managing attorney of TorkLaw – a premier plaintiff’s personal injury law firm specializing in complex catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases.

Reza’s performance in and out of the courtroom has earned him several of the industry’s top awards and professional recognitions, and a reputation as an elite litigator. He has earned millions in settlements, verdicts, and judgments for his clients.

If you would like a free consultation, please contact us today.