Once again, I believe a fact based story will best explain the role played by police reports in civil lawsuits. Assume PL is a women stopped at a red light. D is a man who rear ends PL’s car causing her to be injured. The police officer (PO) receives a radio call to investigate the crash.
Even though the traffic court case is dismissed, PL can still pursue a civil lawsuit for her injuries.
The PO views the position of the cars and also the damage to the cars. The PO talks to each driver separately and decides to issue a ticket to D for following too close. PL doesn’t show up at traffic court so the traffic court case against D is dismissed. Even though the traffic court case is dismissed, PL can still pursue a civil lawsuit for her injuries.
PL didn’t show up to traffic court because she was still recovering from her injuries. PL’s claim is denied by D’s insurance company named Gigantic Insurance Co. PL has to name D as a defendant, rather than Gigantic Insurance Co., which is actually controlling the defense of the case.
Police Reports are inadmissible because they are considered hearsay. However, they can be used to impeach a party. Lets say that D testified that the reason he rear ended PL was that he was struck by a phantom car that took off before the PO arrived. PL’s attorney could ask the PO if there was a third vehicle involved in this crash listed in the police report. Assuming the PO say no, then the PL should ask if the PO customarily lists all vehicles involved in the crash. The PO will say yes. This is one of the ways it can be used.
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Posted on Tue, November 1, 2016
by Thomas Tobin III