If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s important to know when you need an attorney. Many people, if the police on the scene report the crash as the fault of the other driver, feel as though they don’t need any further legal backing to win their personal injury case. However, this is not true.
Though filing your insurance claims may be easier because of such a report, dealing with a personal injury case will not be as simple, even with that evidence. It’s important to understand that to receive the most damages for your personal injury, you’re going to need a qualified attorney to represent you against insurance companies, as the police report will not be considered sufficient evidence.
Understanding Car Accident Police Reports
A police report will be made by the officer on the scene and will detail the events and specifics of the car accident, statements from those involved and those nearby, and the observations of the officer. They are very useful and effective in insurance claim settlements, as insurance adjusters will use the information to determine the money they are willing to pay if you or the other driver files a claim. If the claim moves out of the settlement section and into a lawsuit, though, the police report is generally considered inadmissible.
Police Reports in Insurance Claims
If the police report clearly states that the other driver is at fault for the crash, settlement is much more likely. Other factors, such as driving under influence, that were a part of the police report can also push the claim toward settlement. This is because the fault can be proven, and the police report is given much weight and importance by insurance carriers.
However, a qualified personal injury attorney is still very necessary for these steps. An attorney can help you gather all the proper and relevant information and draft the claim to the opposing insurance company. Police reports are a very effective tool in demanding compensation in a settlement if used properly. If you fail to properly use the leverage of information available to you, you could find yourself thoroughly taken advantage of in the settlement process.
Police Reports in Litigation
Once in court, the police report of the car accident is generally ruled hearsay and inadmissible. This is because the officer didn’t witness the events, and the report cannot be cross-examined as it is an out-of-court claim. In a small claims court, the police report can be used, but in a civil claims court, it cannot. Because of this, you should never assume that a police report will be your answer in a personal injury claim. Though it may have been important evidence for settlement, the time for settlement has passed.
To receive proper damages for the accident, you must properly represent your best interests in court. This can be especially difficult in a personal injury case, as the laws surrounding personal injury and negligence are complicated and intimidating. Representing yourself in court could lead to serious issues and a scenario where you are now “at fault” simply because of your lack of understanding of the legal processes.
Proving Negligence and Fault in Litigation
Though police reports are unhelpful in a lawsuit, a qualified personal injury lawyer with experience in motor vehicle accidents is very helpful. An attorney can not only help you get the proper information together but can also represent you in court, presenting you and your interests in the best light against the opposing side’s claims. It’s important to have someone advocating for your rights and earning you the highest amount of compensation at every stage of your case. Lamar Law Office, LLC, can do just that. Trust us to help you at every phase of your personal injury claim.