If used during the early stages of the claims process, the police report should prove helpful, as per personal injury lawyer in St. Catharines.
How to obtain the police report?
Call the police department, using the department’s non-emergency number. If possible, give the name or badge number for the officer that arrived at the accident site. In some jurisdictions, police departments respond to an online request for an officer’s report.
How might information reported by the arriving officer prove valuable?
It can be used during composition of the demand letter. The officer should have noted the time and location for the incident. In addition, the officer’s report should mention the weather conditions and the road conditions. Statements included in the report might work to support the claimant’s allegations, regarding the liability of the other party. For instance, it could be that the other party received a ticket.
If the claimant did not get a ticket, and the arriving officer had not viewed the claimant as liable for the collision, then that would make it hard for the defense team to suggest evidence of comparative or contributory negligence.
The report’s contents might include the names of some witnesses. If the claimant’s lawyer were to gain access to those names, then that member of the legal profession could arrange to interview the named witnesses. If any of those witnesses agreed to sign a paper with the statements made by them during an interview, then that signed paper could be presented as evidence during a trial.
Could a police report be used during a trial?
No, a judge would never allow that document to be used as a piece of evidence. Judges do not want members of the jury to be exposed to any hearsay.
What is hearsay? That is second hand information—facts that had come from someone else, but could not be confirmed by the person that was sharing the same facts. Remember, the police did not see the accident, the officer merely wrote down what was said by a witness.
However, if a witness had agreed to sign his or her recorded statements, then those signed statements would no longer qualify as hearsay. In other words, those signed statements could be used as evidence in a trial. On the other hand, in the absence of a signature, the paper with the recorded statements would be of no more value than what the officer had reported.
As stated at the start of this article, the information that was recorded by the officer proves most valuable at the start of the claims process. That fact underscores the wisdom behind hiring a lawyer, someone that has learned by experience how to go about obtaining various police reports.