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How to Obtain and Use a Police Report

An incident attracting the attention of a police officer almost always generates a police report. If you are involved in such an incident, for example, a car accident, it is advisable you get a copy of the report soonest possible.

Getting a copy
You can look up the agency’s number in the phonebook or the internet, call them and request a copy of the report. Sometimes you will be asked for a small fee to cover administrative costs like photocopying and mailing. In some cases, you will be asked to pick up the report in person while others will mail it to you.

Using a Police report in an Injury Case
A police report can give you some leverage while negotiating in a personal injury case even though it may not be admissible in a court of law. You can use it in your opening arguments during informal settlement discussions with the other side’s lawyer or insurance. The police report helps establish facts and conclusions like the day, date, location and circumstances of the incident.

In motor vehicle accidents the police report carries an assessment of fault based on the observations of the officer on the scene. It shows who violated the Highway Code as per the state traffic law.

Witness information identification
The police report is also important in identifying witnesses who were on the scene. The report will show the names and contact of persons who witnesses the incident. The witness will have a narration of what happened. These witnesses are useful when arguing your case as they can repeat the incident to the court to show who was at fault.

Amending a Police Report
A police report can be amended if it contains inaccurate information. This is only possible when amending a factual error like the names of those involved in the incident. It is very difficult to amend disputed facts such as the person at fault.

Ask on the procedure of amending the report. Sometimes all that is needed is adding your statement while sometimes someone else has to support the amendment.

Consulting a Personal Injury Attorney
A police report is more useful in the hands of an experienced personal injury attorney. If you are filing a personal injury claim the attorney can use the police report to get you compensated for lost income, pain and suffering and other damages. It is better having an attorney who is experienced in the state’s laws as he can argue your case more strongly.