Police reports are never used in court or shown to a jury. Why is that? Because they are considered hearsay. Police officers almost never actually witness a car wreck themselves. They only rely upon what witnesses and the parties involved tell them. So, the law does not consider a police report as actual evidence of what occurred and cannot be used to prove liability or fault in a car accident. You can find out more about liability or fault in a car accident by reading our Accident Law: determining Who Is at Fault, Tennessee Fault Laws for Car Accident, and finally Tennessee Accident Law and Georgia Accident Law.
But don’t worry. Just because you can’t use police reports in court, you can make sure the police officer comes to court and testifies about what they saw, the evidence gathered and what they’d observed about the people involved in the accident.
A Police Officer’s Testimony
A police officer certainly can testify to what they had witnessed when they arrived at the scene, emphasizing certain information such as how the parties to the accident acted and where the cars were located and other facts showing the collision’s severity. Here are some examples:
- The Physical and Mental Condition of Drivers and Passengers. A police officer sheds light on how the parties behaved when he arrived, whether they seemed on drugs or alcohol. The police officer can testify whether a person involved in the wreck appeared injured.
- The Position of the Vehicles. Fault can often be determined by where the vehicles wound up after the collision. It can tell a well-trained police officer where the vehicles were before the car crash, how fast the vehicles were travelling, and the amount of damage to the cars. The police officer can testify about the illustration they drew on the police report, which is always helpful when negotiating with an insurance company or presenting your case to a jury.
- Witness Statements. Police generally get statements from drivers closest to when the accident happened. This means these statements tend to be closest to the truth about what the witnesses or parties saw (or thought they saw) before time or self-interest changes their perception of what occurred. The reporting officer can affirm or reject whether a witness or party testifying in court about the accident is the same thing that person said right after the accident.
- Injury of the People Involved. Insurance companies love to downplay the seriousness of a claimant’s injuries. If the police officer saw a claimant limping, too hurt to get out of the car or complaining of injuries, this tends to support a claimant’s injury.
How Do You Get the Evidence You Need?
To get an insurance company to pay money, you need to collect much evidence. Here at Dennis and King, we have spent decades amassing the evidence to maximize our car crash injured clients’ claims. Contact us today at (423) 892-5533 for a FREE consultation