A police report should be created after any motor vehicle accident that causes an injury in New Jersey. These reports often contain copious amounts of information suggesting how or why the collisions occurred. A police report typically provides a drawn diagram of a crash or statements from drivers, among other important details.
While police reports may present an array of useful information, they are not entirely admissible in New Jersey injury cases. Specific aspects of police reports may be used in court, while other pieces of information are restricted as hearsay. Our lawyers can help review your police report to determine which information may be allowed as evidence.
Those who suffer harmful collisions in New Jersey should contact our experienced New Jersey car accident attorneys. The team at Legal Care New Jersey is prepared to fight for fair compensation in every case. Call us at (732) 838-9876 for a free review of your claim.
Can You Use Police Reports as Evidence in New Jersey Injury Cases?
Police reports are chock-full of useful information that point to accidents’ sources. Unfortunately, not all of that information may be used as evidence in injury cases. The rule against hearsay prevents many out-of-court statements from being admissible. While some pieces of information from police reports may be allowed in, other aspects these reports are prohibited as hearsay.
In New Jersey, some information from police reports may be admitted as evidence because of exceptions to the rule against hearsay. Facts contained in public records may be admissible as documentation of regularly conducted activity (see Manata v. Pereira). It follows that facts from your police report may be used as evidence in your injury case. This information will help us prove where your accident happened, who was involved, the damage that was caused, and other details that may be disputed. While reviewing your claim, our Jersey City car accident attorneys can explain which information from your police report may be useful in court.
Conclusions and Opinions
However, not every part of your police report will be permitted as evidence in your New Jersey injury case. Courts will only admit facts from public records (see Villanueva v. Zimmer). Therefore, conclusions and opinions contained within your police report will be considered inadmissible hearsay. For instance, if the officer drafting your crash report noted their opinion regarding who is to blame, that opinion will not be allowed in court. Unless the drafting officer witnessed your collision directly, their conclusions and opinions likely cannot be used. You can call our car accident attorneys for help understanding which pieces of information from your police report will be restricted.
How Are Police Reports Used in New Jersey Injury Cases?
There are multiple ways that your police report can be used to recover compensation in your New Jersey injury case. Even information that is not allowed as evidence can be useful to our lawyers. For instance, police reports may be utilized in the following ways:
Building Your Case
Police reports are often among the first pieces of information reviewed by lawyers and insurers when assessing fault for a collision. Information that is not allowed in court can still be used to get an idea of how or why your accident occurred. Furthermore, this information can be used to track down admissible evidence. For instance, an eyewitness may offer a statement in your police report that asserts the defendant ran a red light before causing your crash. In that case, our attorneys could use the information from your police report to find the witness and ask them to testify in court.
Furthermore, information from police reports can be used to refresh witnesses’ memories in court. The process of testifying can be stressful and disorienting. If a witness is having trouble getting through their testimony, then our Trenton car accident attorneys may use police reports to refresh their recollection. In these instances, the information is not read out loud to the court. Rather, the police report is quietly reviewed with the witness in private. For example, a witness that provided a statement in a police report may use the report to remember exactly what they said.
Lastly, information from your police report may be used to impeach a witness or sabotage their credibility. This legal strategy is regularly employed when witnesses lie or embellish their testimony. For example, there might be a statement in the report that someone witnessed the defendant travelling at excessive speeds before causing your collision. Afterwards, suppose they testify in court that they never actually saw the defendant before your accident. In that instance, our car accident attorneys could use the information from the police report to show that what they are saying now might not be reliable.
What Information Does Your Police Report Contain in New Jersey?
Police reports often contain a wide range of information that points to crashes’ causes. For example, the following information is typically included:
- Where the accident happened
- Who the witnesses were and how to contact them
- Who the other drivers are and how to contact them
- List of visible vehicle damage
- What the road and weather was like
- Quotes from witnesses
- Quotes from other drivers
- A hand-drawn picture of the accident scene
- The officer’s notes on what they think happened and who they think was at fault
As previously discussed, not all of this information will be admissible in your New Jersey injury case. Still, such reports can be very valuable to our Hoboken car accident attorneys when assessing your claim and determining the proper course of action.
After experiencing a crash, our attorneys can help recover and review a copy of your police report. Afterwards, our team can lean on years of experience when building your case and fighting for fair compensation.
If You Want to Seek Compensation in a New Jersey Injury Case, Our Lawyers Are Prepared to Help
Seek guidance and support from the experienced Newark accident attorneys at Legal Care New Jersey by calling (732) 838-9876. Our lawyers will provide a free case assessment.