Can a Police Report Be Used Against You in a Car Accident Lawsuit in Massachusetts?

If you require compensation following a car accident in Massachusetts, you might be wondering what tactics the negligent driver might use to try to undermine your case. For example, could the police report for your accident be used against you in your recovery claim?

When police officers document car accidents, they do so in a crash report. This report will contain pertinent details related to your accident in Massachusetts, like the location, date, and involved parties. Most likely, the information in this report will benefit you as the victim rather than the negligent driver. Furthermore, some parts of police reports might not be admissible in injury claims, whether by the defendant or the plaintiff. That said, you should still report your accident to the police, as doing is may be required by law. And, regardless of whether or not the entire police report is admissible in your claim, our attorneys can use it as a reference when building your case for recovery.

For a free case assessment from our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today at (617) 925-6407.

Can Police Reports Be Used Against Car Accident Victims in Massachusetts?

Police reports are often hugely beneficial to victims seeking compensation, and not defendants. That said, inaccurate or incomplete police reports might weaken victims’ claims, even if a police report is not admissible in their case.

Police reports for car accidents are basically crash fact sheets. They lay out the basic information regarding the collision, like all involved parties, the location, the time of day, and any contributing or primary causes. When thorough and accurate, police reports should be more useful to victims than defendants. That is because the driver’s actions leading up to the accident, the property damage to vehicles, eyewitness statements, and other information indicating fault may be in the police report. If comparative negligence is not an issue in your case, you should not fear the defendant trying to use the police report against you.

Even if comparative negligence is a factor in your case, the police report might not help the defendant prove it for several reasons. First and foremost, certain aspects of police reports are considered hearsay, meaning they are not admissible in injury claims. Furthermore, the parts of police reports that may be admissible, such as information that is part of the public record, would likely be useless to a defendant when attempting to establish that you contributed to your injuries. The defendant would likely need further evidence of your supposed negligence to undermine your case or get your damages reduced.

Can Failure to File a Police Report Be Used Against Car Accident Victims in Massachusetts?

Reporting auto accidents to the police is almost always required of victims in Massachusetts. If you do not make a police report, your failure to document the accident might be used to undermine your compensation claim.

According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 90, § 26, auto accidents resulting in death, injury, or more than $1,000 worth of property damage must be reported to law enforcement. If you do not do this, there will be no police report for your accident. This can lead to insufficient documentation that the accident took place, which is important for various reasons, including insurance purposes. Massachusetts allows victims to report car accidents to the authorities within five days.

Furthermore, if you do not call the police and report your accident, it might be harder to establish that the defendant in your claim was involved in the accident that caused your injuries. Even if you do not feel injured after a collision in Massachusetts, alert law enforcement and other emergency personnel. Accept medical care at the scene and speak candidly with the police about what happened. Give them any pertinent information while it is fresh in your mind so that the resulting police report can be as accurate as possible. It is always best to report auto accidents to the police immediately instead of the following days.

How Can You Use a Police Report in Your Massachusetts Car Accident Lawsuit?

The issue of the admissibility of police reports is a complicated one, as certain aspects might be considered hearsay, while others may not. Our lawyers can help explain these complex matters and use the police report for your accident to build a strong claim for your recovery in Massachusetts.

Generally, sections of police reports based on conclusions and opinions are inadmissible in injury claims in Massachusetts. Sections that contain information that is part of the public record, like involved parties’ names, may be admissible.

Regardless of a police report’s use as actual proof in your claim, it can benefit our lawyers during the preparation process for your case. For example, after reviewing the police report, we can pinpoint the exact location and time of day the accident occurred. This can allow us to contact nearby business owners or homeowners who might have security cameras on their properties. We can then request access to such footage by providing the proper date and time of your accident, as learned from the police report. While you might know such information, having a reference source in the form of a police report can allow us to proceed with certain evidence-collection tactics without your unnecessary involvement.

Also from the police report, we can learn the names and contact details of eyewitnesses who saw your crash take place. As we build your case, our Andover, MA car accident lawyers can interview eyewitnesses and experts who might add further credence to your claim. Such statements can be used as evidence in support of your recovery.

Call Our Massachusetts Lawyers to Discuss Your Car Accident Case Now

You can call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to have our Boston car accident lawyers evaluate your case for free.