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How and When to Use Police Reports in Your Car Accident Case

November 14, 2019

By Van Der Veen, Hartshorn, and Levin

After you’ve been in a car accident and are trying to secure compensation from your own insurance company or another driver’s, you may wish to use the police report. The report, written moments after the crash, can help indicate that another driver was at fault, as an officer will include that information. It will also include other important information, such as the weather conditions at the time of the accident. Due to this, it’s natural to think a police report is one of the best pieces of evidence for your case. This may be true, but in a car accident case, it’s important to understand when you can use a police report as evidence, and when you cannot.

Using a Police Report in Court

Generally speaking in Pennsylvania, you cannot use a police report to prove negligence in court. This is because police reports are considered hearsay, which is inadmissible in court. Hearsay is any unsworn statement made outside of the courtroom by a person without direct knowledge. Due to the fact that the police officer was not there at the time of the crash, and only arrived afterwards, anything they include in their report is hearsay. However, that doesn’t mean a police report won’t play any role in your accident case.

Using a Police Report Outside of Court

It’s true that police reports cannot be used as evidence in court. However, they are still quite useful in settlement negotiations with the insurance company. A police report will often indicate when another driver was negligent so injured individuals can use them as leverage during settlement negotiations.

When preparing a demand letter against the other driver’s insurance company, an attorney will include the police report along with any other evidence that proves fault.

How to Obtain a Police Report

Your attorney will know how to obtain a copy of your police report. However, if you haven’t found an attorney yet, it’s fairly easy to do on your own. You can contact the police department that responded to your accident, and ask for the report by mail, in person, or even online, depending on the department. If you’re unsure of the department that responded to your crash, you can mail an application to the Pennsylvania State Police. You must wait 15 days after the accident and include an application fee, which is $22.

Let Our Pennsylvania Car Accident Attorneys Help with Your Case

After a car accident, you’re likely injured and your main focus should be on your recovery, not running around obtaining your police report. At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, we are the Allentown personal injury attorneys that can help. We know how to get police reports and all other evidence relating to your crash, and we know how to use them effectively during negotiations. We’ll do all of this to get the compensation you need while you recover from the crash. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 to schedule your free consultation so we can start reviewing your case.



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