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

The steps you take in the aftermath of a car accident can have a significant impact on the outcome of any legal proceedings that arise. One of the most important documents in this process is the police report.

This report is usually created by a responding police officer and contains information about the accident. However, in Texas, police reports are generally considered hearsay and are therefore not admissible as evidence in court. However, there are some exceptions to this rule that could allow the report to be used in your case. Police reports tend to be much more useful in insurance negotiations, where the rule against hearsay is not in effect. Our firm can help you get a copy of your report and determine how it will be used in your claim.

For your free case review with our Dallas car accident attorneys, contact The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. at (817) 476-1797 today.

Can a Police Report Be Used as Evidence Against Me in a Texas Car Accident Lawsuit?

When a car accident occurs, a police report is usually created by the responding officer at the scene. This report is a comprehensive and detailed document that contains important information regarding the accident, such as the date, time, and location of the incident, the individuals involved, any apparent injuries sustained, and the extent of any property damage. Additionally, the police report might include the officer’s observations and witness statements, which can provide valuable insight into the circumstances surrounding the accident.

In Texas, as well as in many other jurisdictions, police reports generally do not meet the criteria for admissibility in court. This is because of the hearsay rule, which excludes out-of-court statements from being used as evidence to establish the truth of the matters they assert. The rationale behind this rule is that these statements have not been given under oath or subjected to cross-examination, making them less reliable than other forms of evidence. As a result, police reports are typically used for informational purposes only and are not generally admissible in court.

The Rule Against Hearsay

In Texas, the hearsay rule is an important aspect to consider when dealing with car accident lawsuits. Hearsay refers to statements made outside of the court by someone who is not present in the court to testify under oath. In such cases, these statements are generally considered inadmissible in court. For example, the statements made by witnesses at the scene of the accident, but not repeated in court, are classified as hearsay and are typically not admissible in court.

Similarly, police reports are generally classified as hearsay in Texas courts. This is because they contain statements from individuals who are not present in court to testify under oath. Our Fort Worth car accident attorneys can help determine how best to use the report in your case. However, if the officer who wrote the report testifies in court, some elements of the report might become admissible as evidence.

Exceptions to the Hearsay Rule

In Texas, the admissibility of public records, such as police accident reports, is provided under the Texas Rules of Evidence 803(8). This means that in certain circumstances, a police report might be considered as evidence in a car accident lawsuit but is usually limited to the informational sections of the report, not the officer’s opinions.

Apart from this, there is another exception to the hearsay rule, which could potentially allow certain portions of a police report to be admitted as evidence. This exception is known as the present sense impression exception and is outlined in Rule 803(1) of the Texas Rules of Evidence. It applies to statements that describe or explain an event or condition made while the declarant was perceiving the event or immediately thereafter.

While witness statements that are contained in police reports are usually considered to be hearsay, they can still become admissible if they are offered for a purpose other than proving the truth of the matter asserted. This means such statements can be admitted as evidence if they are used to show something other than the truth of the matter asserted, such as to show the defendant’s state of mind or to contradict other evidence presented in the case.

Can a Police Report Be Used in an Insurance Claim for a Texas Car Accident?

In the insurance claims process, the hearsay rules that apply in a court of law do not have the same impact. Insurance companies place a significant reliance on police reports when processing claims. The reason for this is that adjusters use these reports to determine who was at fault in the accident and to assess the extent of damages and injuries.

A police report can play a crucial role in the resolution of your insurance claim, even if it is deemed hearsay in court. A detailed police report can strengthen your claim, particularly if it supports your account of the accident. If the report indicates that the other party was at fault, it can be instrumental in helping you obtain the compensation you deserve.

It is essential to request a copy of the police report as soon as it becomes available and review it thoroughly to ensure all details are accurate. The report provides valuable information that can help you build a strong case. It includes details such as the date, time, and location of the accident, the names of the parties involved, and any witnesses.

However, it is important to remember that a police report is not infallible. There might be inaccuracies or discrepancies in the report, which could potentially harm your claim. Therefore, you should carefully review the report to ensure its accuracy. If you notice any inconsistencies, it is essential to bring them to the attention of your attorney.

What Information is Contained in a Texas Car Accident Police Report?

One of the key elements of a Texas car accident police report is the collection of personal information. This includes the names, addresses, license plate numbers, and insurance details of all drivers involved. Additionally, the report should include driver-specific details, such as whether a sobriety test was administered.

The police report also provides information about the vehicles involved in the accident. This includes the make, model, year, color, and any distinguishing features of the vehicles. If a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is involved in the crash, the report will also include the CMV carrier’s name and address.

Perhaps the most vital part of the police report is the detailed account of the accident itself. This section includes information like the date, time, and location of the accident, the weather and road conditions at the time, a diagram of the accident, and a narrative description of how the accident occurred.

Our Texas Car Accident Attorneys Can Help Put Your Police Report to Use in Your Case

Call The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. at (817) 476-1797 to speak with our Killeen, TX car accident lawyers and get your free case evaluation.