The Importance of a Police Report
One of the first things your personal injury attorney will do after being hired to work on your car accident case is to obtain a copy of the police report. This report, along with testimony provided by officers who responded to the scene, can have a major impact on your case. Therefore, your attorney will want to see what it contains to help build the strongest possible case.
Police reports aren’t infallible, so errors aren’t unheard of. Despite this, these documents are highly influential on jurors. The same is true of the investigating officer, who is often among the only impartial witnesses to the scene. The officer’s observations are typically recorded in the report, which is another reason why your personal injury attorney will want to obtain a copy as quickly as possible.
It is unlikely that the report alone will be used at trial. More typically, the investigating officer takes the stand. If they are in uniform, they make especially compelling lead witnesses. To prepare adequately for trial, then, it’s in your personal injury lawyer’s best interests to carefully assess the contents of the report, as they can provide hints as to what the officer will say on the stand. Police reports vary from one jurisdiction to the next, but the typically include the following elements:
- The responding officer’s opinions regarding contributing factors, the cause of the accident, safety devices that were used and the pre-accident actions of all drivers
- The identities of all vehicle owners and drivers
- Weather and road conditions at the time of the accident
- Information about all parties’ insurance carriers
- The names and addresses of all witnesses
- Damages incurred by all vehicles
- Description and diagram of the accident
- Whether or not a summons was issued
- A record of all injuries and complaints
- The condition of all drivers, especially concerning drugs and alcohol
Don’t go it alone after being injured in an automobile accident. Contact VanDerGinst Law at 800-797-5391, we’d be honored to help. The consultation is free and there is never a fee unless we win.