The first call you should make after a car crash is to the authorities. The police and possibly an ambulance may be sent to your location. Afterward, the police will issue a report we might need for a lawsuit.
The New Brunswick police make reports publicly available online, but certain private details might be redacted. Unredacted copies are available upon request. Using the police report is sometimes tricky. Often, these reports are inadmissible as evidence, but they might contain details about evidence uncovered by the police that we can use to our advantage. You may need a copy of the report for insurance purposes or to find evidence you can use in a lawsuit. The more complicated your accident is, the longer it might take for the police to complete the report. Additionally, there might be some time between our request for the report and when we actually get it.
For help getting copies of the crash report, contact our New Jersey car accident lawyers by calling (732) 838-9769 and scheduling a free case review with our staff at Legal Care New Jersey.
How to Get Copies of the Police Accident Report for Your Car Accident Case in New Brunswick, NJ
In New Brunswick, the local police department makes crash reports available online. These reports are available for public convenience, but certain information might be missing. The authorities often redact details that include private information about juveniles, among other details. For some, a redacted version of the report is all they need. The important details about how the accident occurred and the officer’s notes are likely still visible. However, if you need an official, unredacted version, you might need to submit a formal request.
To obtain an unredacted copy of your accident report, you must contact the police who handled your accident and submit a request. Specifically, our New Jersey personal injury lawyers can help you contact the New Brunswick Police Department Record Room to request a copy of your report.
You might need an unredacted copy to submit to an insurance company as proof of your accident. They need to see all the details, including those the police redact for privacy reasons. Similarly, if the other driver in your case is a juvenile, their details might be redacted, and you need an official, unredacted copy to use in your case.
Using the Police Report as Evidence in Your New Brunswick, NJ Car Accident Case
While insurance companies often demand copies of police reports as evidence of the accident, your report likely cannot be used as evidence in your lawsuit. Police reports are normally based on information gathered from other sources rather than from the officers’ own personal knowledge. As such, police reports are often inadmissible because they are considered hearsay.
While hearsay evidence is categorically barred in a lawsuit, there are numerous exceptions to the rule. Under N.J.R.E. § 801(6), records of regularly conducted activity may be admitted into evidence despite their hearsay nature. This is sometimes referred to as the business records exception. To be admissible, the records must be made as part of normal business activities, not to gather evidence for a lawsuit. Police reports may fall under this exception because they are made as a routine part of police duties.
Another possible exception is made for public records under N.J.R.E. § 801(8). This rule allows official public records to be admitted as evidence even though they might constitute hearsay. The records must be made by a government official in the course of their official duties, such as a police officer recording a crash report. If you believe your accident report should be used as evidence, talk to an attorney to determine if it meets one of these exceptions.
Reasons Why You May Want Copies of the Police Crash Report After a Car Accident in New Brunswick, NJ
As discussed earlier, insurance companies often want to see an official copy of the report. They might also contain useful details needed for a lawsuit. Even if you are not pursuing legal action, having a copy of the report might be useful if the other driver tried to file a case against you.
As said, you will likely need a copy of the report when you file an insurance claim. Insurance companies generally require proof of the accident, and a police report may be just that. The officers’ notes might also show how the accident happened and how the other driver is at fault.
While police reports for car accidents are typically inadmissible as evidence in a lawsuit, they are still a necessary part of the judicial process. The report might contain details we can use to find admissible evidence. For example, if the police spoke to witnesses about the crash, their names might be in the report. We can use the report to find those witnesses and convince them to testify.
Suppose you choose not to pursue legal action because insurance covers most of your damages. That does not mean the other driver cannot try to sue you, even if it is clear they are at fault. The police report is good to have just for your own personal records.
How Long Do Accident Reports Take to Write After a New Brunswick, NJ Car Accident?
The time it takes to get your report may vary. For some, accident reports are compiled quickly. If your case is less serious, with minor injuries and minimal damage, the police might not need to investigate much. The information for the report might be collected entirely from when the police initially responded to the scene. In such cases, the report might be ready in a few days or weeks, depending on how busy the police are.
If your accident is more severe, the police might investigate more thoroughly, and it will take longer to complete a report. This is common in accidents involving severe injuries or death. It is also common in cases where multiple vehicles are involved, and it is unclear who is responsible. Our team can contact the authorities to determine when the report will be available.
Call Our New Brunswick, NJ Car Accident Attorneys About Getting Copies of Your Crash Report
For help getting copies of the crash report, contact our Jersey City, NJ car accident lawyers by calling (732) 838-9769 and scheduling a free case review with our staff at Legal Care New Jersey.