How Lawyers Use Police Report When Making Personal Injury Claim

While working with a personal injury lawyer, the injured victim of an accident hopes that the police report can add strength to that victim’s/client’s argument. In other words, the victims’ possession of a copy of the police report could prove useful.

Method for obtaining such a copy

• At the time of the accident, get the name of the officer that arrives at the scene of that particular incident.
• Call the police department, using a non-emergency number.
• In some jurisdictions it is possible to go online and seek access to the records request services.
• Both methods require the payment of an administration fee, before the desired report gets released.

Police reports function as a tool

If the insurance company has learned that a given claimant has gained possession of the relevant police report, then it normally takes the claimant’s claim more seriously. That means that the adjuster should be less apt to question the claim’s veracity.

What is the nature of the report’s contents?

It contains facts of significance, such as the date of the accident and the weather conditions at the time of the accidental incident. It should include the names of witnesses. Lawyers are eager to obtain those names, so that each might be sought, as a source of observations.

Potential drawbacks to knowledge of witnesses’ observations

Details on those observations prove most useful during the early stages of a personal injury claim. Personal Injury Lawyer in St. Catharines realize that the reported observations from witnesses cannot be used in a courtroom.

The information recorded by an officer that reported to the scene of an accident does not qualify as direct knowledge. Hence, in a courtroom a judge would declare that same information to be hearsay. Jurors are not supposed to listen to hearsay. So, is there any way for a witness’ observations to be shared with members of the jury? Yes, that can be done, if a given witness has agreed to testify in court. The events that follow directly upon the presentation of that testimony transform the witness’ observations from something that qualifies as hearsay to something that has become allowable evidence.

Personal injury lawyers realize that insurance adjusters understand the times and ways that facts and statements in a police report can be used, as well as the times when those facts and statements cannot be used. An adjuster’s experience forces recognition of the fact that any reported comment could prove of limited value, if a claimant chose to pursue litigation. On the other hand, lawyers’ skills and experience tend to help them with presenting a strong argument, and, thus, getting the party that is opposing the client to agree to the terms of a proposed settlement.

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