Are Police Reports Admissible in Injury Cases in New York City?
When you call law enforcement officials after an accident, they can create a police report. In New York City, these reports can be considered evidence in a lawsuit if they meet the necessary criteria.
In certain circumstances, police reports are admissible evidence in New York City personal injury cases. Suppose a report is certified and contains information gathered from direct observation by New York City police officers. In that case, it may be used as evidence in a lawsuit. Even if a report is certified, certain pieces of information within a report might be inadmissible. Whether or not a police report and its contents are admissible, your New York City attorney can use a police report to strengthen your claim, albeit in different ways.
We’re here to help New York City victims recover the compensatory damages they deserve after an accident. For a free case evaluation with the New York City personal injury lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm, call today at (718) 841-0083.
When Are Police Reports Admissible in Injury Cases in New York City?
In many states, police reports are considered hearsay. That means they generally can’t be used as evidence in a personal injury claim. However, in New York City, police reports that meet certain criteria are admissible in lawsuits.
Suppose a police report is certified, meaning it meets the reporting criteria of the state and greater law enforcement agency. In that case, it may be admissible in a New York City injury lawsuit, provided the information is based on an officer’s own opinions or observations. For example, if a New York City police officer completed a report, which included information they witnessed or compiled firsthand, and that report is certified, the information that meets the necessary criteria may be used as evidence in a lawsuit.
Even if a report is certified, that doesn’t mean that the entire report and all its contents will be admissible. Generally, the following information from a police report may be admissible in a New York City personal injury claim, provided the report is certified, and the observations were made or collected by a police officer themselves:
- Involved parties’ names
- Involved parties’ license plate information
- Involved parties’ driver’s license information
- Involved parties’ insurance information
- Observable injuries to victims
- Observable property damage
Essentially, a police report and its contents are admissible in a New York City injury claim if the report is certified and the information was gathered via direct observation by the reporting officer. Determining what is admissible in a police report can be challenging, which is why hiring an experienced Patchogue personal injury lawyer is important.
When Are Police Reports Inadmissible in New York City Injury Cases?
If a police report is uncertified or its contents do not meet New York’s additional hearsay exceptions, the entire report or certain aspects will not be admissible in a New York City injury lawsuit. To learn if the police report for your injury lawsuit is inadmissible, consult an attorney.
Police reports are considered uncertified, and thus inadmissible when they are not complete or have not been sufficiently reviewed for accuracy. Suppose a police report does not meet the necessary criteria for certification in New York City. In that case, it will not be admissible in an injury case. That includes all its contents, including direct observations that would have otherwise been admissible had the report been certified.
Remember, certification is not the only criterion that must be met for your Queens personal injury lawyer to introduce a police report and all of its contents as evidence. Suppose certain information included in a report is not gathered from direct observation. In that case, may be considered hearsay and be inadmissible in a New York City lawsuit.
For example, suppose a police report is certified and contains quotes of eyewitness statements. If police officers include statements from witnesses quoting involved parties within a report, that may be considered hearsay. In that case, the police officer is learning the information from someone else, not making direct observations. Your attorney might be able to use some of these hearsay statements, but they will need an independent justification to make them admissible as evidence.
Navigating what is and isn’t admissible in a New York City lawsuit can be challenging. A skilled New York City attorney can use their experience to identify inadmissible information within police reports and strengthen your claim in other ways.
How Can a Police Report Strengthen Your New York City Injury Case?
Whether a police report and its contents are considered admissible evidence in a New York City lawsuit, these documents can still help victims recover the compensation they deserve. An experienced attorney can use the information within a police report to build a strong compensation claim against a negligent party.
Of course, it’s ideal for a police report to be certified and contain admissible information. However, Rochester personal injury lawyers know not to expect that to be the case. Suppose a police report meets the criteria for admissibility. In that case, your lawyer can introduce it as evidence in a lawsuit. If not, your attorney will be prepared to uncover other evidence that is just as compelling.
A police report, admissible or not, can still provide a New York City personal injury lawyer with a deep understanding of an accident. Though not always admissible, eyewitness statements can lead your attorney to witnesses. Instead of using their statements in a police report to prove a negligent party’s fault, your lawyer can call on witnesses to testify in your New York City injury lawsuit.
Police reports, though helpful, are rarely sufficient evidence to prove a negligent party’s fault. So, if the contents of the police report for your recent accident are inadmissible, don’t worry. The information within a report can still help your attorney strengthen your case against a defendant so that you can recover the compensatory damages you deserve.
Call Our Lawyers After an Accident in New York City
If you were recently injured in an accident in New York City, our attorneys can help. For a free case evaluation with the Schenectady personal injury lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm, call today at (718) 841-0083.