Car accidents can be a traumatic event for anyone involved. While there are many things that you might have to consider during this time, one of the most important documents that you should be aware of is the police report.

The police report contains important information about the crash, such as the date, time, location, and a summary of what happened. Fortunately, it is difficult to use this document against you in a lawsuit. That is because police reports are generally considered hearsay and are not admissible as evidence in court. However, certain portions of the report could make it into your case. This can be beneficial during insurance negotiations and strengthen your overall claim. Our team can use the report as a starting point for understanding your incident and identifying other evidence and witnesses that could help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Our Illinois personal injury lawyers at Rhatigan Law Offices can provide you with a free case review when you call (312) 578-8502.

Can Police Reports Be Used as Evidence Against You in an Illinois Car Accident Trial?

A police report is often perceived as a critical piece of evidence, capturing the responding officer’s observations, statements from involved parties, and, potentially, an initial assessment of fault.

However, the use of police reports as evidence in court, particularly against you in a car accident case, is highly limited and subject to stringent evidentiary rules. Our Chicago car accident lawyers can help you understand how these rules impact your claim and what might be used in the report. We can review your report to see how it can be used against you, but also how we can use it to get your compensation.

The term “hearsay” is commonly used to refer to any statement made outside of the courtroom that is offered as evidence to prove the truth of the matter being asserted in the statement. In Illinois, Rule 802 of the Illinois Rules of Evidence prohibits the admission of hearsay evidence unless it falls under one of the exceptions outlined in Rule 803 and 804.

One of the major concerns with hearsay evidence is its reliability. If the person who made the statement is not present in court to be cross-examined about it, it can be more difficult for the court to rely on without other evidence to corroborate it. For this reason, hearsay evidence is generally considered less reliable than other types of evidence and, therefore, barred.

Police reports are typically considered hearsay because they contain out-of-court statements made by the responding officer and possibly statements from witnesses, drivers, and passengers involved in the accident. This is considered hearsay within hearsay and will not usually be admitted at trial. In most cases, our attorneys will have witnesses and other relevant parties in court to testify to what they observed.

Can the Insurance Company Use a Police Report Against Me in an Illinois Car Accident Case?

When a legal claim is submitted to insurance companies, they often require police reports. These reports can be used in multiple ways and can influence the company’s overall understanding of the accident and who is at fault. However, these reports are often used as a justification to deny a victim’s claim.

In Illinois, insurance claims for car accidents are paid by the insurance of the driver at fault. Unfortunately, the decision of whether or not to pay out a significant amount of money rests with an opposing insurance company. Because of this, the police report can serve as a valuable tool to reduce the compensation you receive or deny your claim outright.

If your police report does not clearly state what happened or who caused the accident, the insurance company will likely use it as a reason to deny your case. Even if the report states that you were at fault, our lawyers can present other evidence that contradicts the report and the reasons for denying your claim.

However, the insurance company will likely give the police report as much weight as it needs to achieve its goals. The report is rarely the deciding piece of evidence in a car accident claim. Ultimately, we might need to present various other forms of evidence that prove the facts of your case.

How Our Attorneys Can Use a Police Report in Your Illinois Car Accident Claim

While a police report is often not necessary as proof for your claim, our lawyers can think of several uses for it when preparing your case. By examining the report, we can determine the precise time and location of the accident. This will allow us to scout the area and determine any resources that might be nearby to help with the investigation, like home or business owners in the vicinity who may have surveillance cameras installed.

Our firm can then formally request the footage, if it exists, by providing the owner with the date and timeframe in which your accident occurred. Also, our team can collect the evidence without you having to get involved with a party you do not know. These and other mundane details in the police report are often forgotten following an accident. The police report is valuable because it preserves this information for our attorneys to use later in your claim.

We will also be able to gather the names of the drivers and any witnesses involved. The police report should also contain their contact information, which our lawyers can use to reach out to witnesses and, most importantly, serve the defendant with your lawsuit. Our lawyers will take their statements during the course of litigation or arrange for them to testify in court, which will allow us to get in important information from the police report even though the report itself cannot be used as evidence.

Our Illinois Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You Make the Best Use of the Police Report in Your Case

For a free case assessment with our Joliet, IL car accident attorneys, call Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502.

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