How Do The Contents of Police Reports Get Used In Personal Injury Cases?

Each police report summarizes the information that was obtained by the officer that was called to the scene.

Typical contents of a police report

• What the questioned witnesses said to the officer
• Any measurements that the officer might have taken
• A rough drawing of the spot where the accident took place
• Photographs that show the positions of the vehicles that were involved in the crash.
• Notations that indicate whether or not any of the involved drivers received a traffic citation
• Notes that record other observations, such as the condition of the road, the operation of any traffic signals, and even the weather conditions
• Specific information, such as the date, time and location of the collision
• Details on the insurance carried by each of the involved drivers

Possible contents

If a traffic cop reported to the scene of a hit-and-run incident, then that some cop would seek information on the type of vehicle driven by the responsible motorist. In other words, that cop’s report could contain information on the vehicle’s make or color. It might also contain facts about what was on the vehicle’s license plate.

Significance of any remarks that report might contain with respect to the person at-fault

Those are viewed as an opinion, and not as a fact. The insurance company determines who was at fault. Still, if an insurance company has denied a claim, the claimant might use the police report when fighting the company’s denial.

Could a police report be used in court?

Members of the public that seek to address a legal issue by going to a small claims court do have the right to use a police report. Judges in a small claims court are more lenient than those in a larger court.

In a large court, a judge would reject the admission of a police report. Because the report’s author did not see the accident, the reported information is viewed as hearsay. In a traditional court, the jurors are not supposed to listen to hearsay. Hence, judges deny permission to share the contents of a police report.

Does the information reported by the cop become the final word, regarding what evidence existed at the scene of the collision?

No, if a claimant has hired a personal injury lawyer in Sault Ste. Marie, that lawyer might have an investigator re-visit the site of the accident. That would be especially important, if the accident had taken place at night. During the day, the investigator might find things that were unnoticed or overlooked earlier.

That fact helps to underscore the way that new and important evidence might get revealed during a deposition, which takes place at a discovery session. A witness might allude to some discovery that was made by an investigator.