The moments immediately following a car accident are some of the most stressful that a person can experience. After you’ve checked to make sure that you and your passengers are okay, it’s typical for your mind to turn to the future and how you will pay for your injuries and damages to your vehicle. Because your mind is preoccupied with the aftermath of your wreck, it’s common to forget to get a copy of the police report.
While you usually won’t be able to use a police report in court, obtaining a copy of this report can be an important part of proving your claim. Discover why you need a police report after a serious car accident and learn how an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney can help with your injury claim.
Using a Police Report Outside of Court
There are many ways you can use a police report following a car accident, but first, you will need to obtain a copy. Fortunately, this is the easiest part of the process. All you need to do is call the law enforcement agency that came to your accident and request a copy of the report. It may also be possible for you to make a request online.
After you’ve received your copy of the police report, it can be useful in several different ways.
First, your police report will contain valuable information about your accident, including the names and contact information of the parties involved, as well as witnesses and a description of the crime scene and information about the weather at the time of your accident. Second, it’s possible to use your police report as leverage during settlement negotiations, especially if the report indicates the fault of the other driver.
Limitations of a Police Report
The biggest limitation of a police report is that will not be admissible evidence if your injury claim makes it all the way to trial. Police reports are considered ‘hearsay’. This means your report is a unsworn statement that was made outside of a courtroom by someone who was not physically present at the time of the accident. Because the responding officer did not see the accident occur, any statements made in the report are based on their opinion and not verifiable fact.
However, as mentioned, a police report can serve as the basis for a personal injury lawsuit, particularly if you’re able to collect eyewitness statements and other pieces of evidence from the information contained in the report.
Get Help After a Serious Car Accident
After you’ve been involved in a serious car accident that results in expensive medical bills and car repairs, you need to gather all the evidence you will need to prove a personal injury claim. Although it cannot be used in a court of law, one of the most important things that you can do is to secure a copy of the police report documenting your wreck.
If you’ve collected your police report and need help making use of the information it contains, the next step you should take after your car accident is to contact an attorney from Harris and Graves, Personal Injury Attorneys. We can examine your case, help you read through your police report and tell you if you have grounds for a personal injury suit.
Tell us about your accident today so that we can get started.