Are police reports admissible in personal injury cases?

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Police reports for auto accidents aren’t conclusive. However, it may mean that you might not be able to win a lawsuit because the police may have identified something that’s a real problem. The police report is not considered as evidence and wouldn’t be admissible in a lawsuit.

If the police report after an accident states that I am at fault does that mean I have no personal injury case?

It is possible that the police could incorrectly assign fault because of time constraints or other issues. They sometimes don’t or can’t take the time needed to interview all the witnesses and really understand what happened. Especially if it’s a complicated situation, where maybe there’s a defect with one of the vehicles or some condition of the roadway that contributed to the accident. Usually, they will not spend much time investigating. They will look at the drivers and blame one or the other.

A good example of this issue would be defective cars or products. Our firm handled several Firestone Tire cases back in the early 2000s where the tires were falling apart, and all of the police reports we reviewed blamed the drivers. So even though the tire fell apart, the police expected that the driver should have been able to control their vehicle to avoid having the auto accident. That wasn’t realistic because people aren’t professional drivers. It just exemplifies the fact that police officers are trained to put fault on one driver or another.

They may not have the time or expertise to figure out what happened by asking questions like:

  • Was there a problem with the vehicle?
  • Was there a problem roadway?

Often, the police will conclude what they think happened early in the investigation, and then everything will flow from that. Every witness interview they do will be directed towards backing up the conclusion that they’ve already reached.

If you have been injured in an auto accident and are in need of a personal injury lawyer in Torrance or Los Angeles, please contact the Booth & Koskoff office nearest you for a free personal injury case evaluation.