Many accident victims are surprised when they learn that they can't use police reports as evidence during the trial. However, this shouldn't be surprising given that the police were not there when the accident happened, so the report is nothing more than hearsay. Fortunately, there are still many other ways the report can help you pursue your injury claim. Here are four examples of how you can use the police report.
Mining Factual Information
The report contains lots of factual information that both you and the adjuster can use when processing your claim. Some of the facts include:
This is one of the reasons you shouldn't leave an accident scene before the police arrive. Don't forget that it's also unlawful to flee an accident scene.
Conducting a Preliminary Assessment of Liability
Although the police report does not have the last say on who was at fault for the accident, it does contain an opinion on the liable party. The insurance company has to investigate the claim because police officers aren't infallible. However, if the police clearly say that you did not contribute o the accident, then the report may help you start the negotiations at an advantage. It works the other way round too; you will find it difficult to navigate your claim is the report indicates that you contributed to the accident.
Having a witness who can testify to your innocence (or to the fault of the other driver) can strengthen your case greatly. This is one of the reasons it's advisable to collect potential witness information (names and addresses) immediately after an accident.
What happens if you are too injured to do this? You have nothing to worry about as long as the authorities arrive soon after the accident because they will gather the information. Even if you did take some witnesses' information, there is no harm in supplementing them with those from the police report.
Therefore, you shouldn't discount the contribution of the police report to your injuries. Therefore, if you aren't seriously hurt, call the police and wait for them to arrive and cooperate with them. Don't forget to contact the authorities for a copy of your report a few days after the accident.
For legal help, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
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