When you call the police after a car accident, an officer will create a police report that lays out all the details of the accident. This report will include information such as the types of vehicles involved, the weather conditions during the accident, the names of any witnesses, and, in cases, the driver the officer believes was at fault in the accident.
If you believe the other party was at fault, a police report could give you some leverage as you attempt to settle your case. However, police reports are not admissible evidence in all cases, and they do not always contain accurate information.
Read on to learn more about how you can use an Oklahoma police report to determine fault in a car accident.
Does a Police Report Indicate Who Was At Fault?
When an officer creates a police report at the scene of an accident, they include information such as the:
● Date and location of the accident
● Positions of the vehicles
● Names of the drivers
● Types of vehicles involved
● Names and statements from any witnesses
● Citations either driver received for not following traffic laws
Often, police officers use the above information to create an informed opinion about who is at fault in the accident. Unless there is insufficient information to do so, they typically include this opinion in the police report as well.
While a police report can provide valuable information about the details of the accident, this document can only go so far to support your case. Because the officer did not observe the accident personally, their report does not act as actual proof of who is at fault. It is an instead informed opinion about the details of the case, and the facts of how the car accident happened.
Can You Give a Police Report to the Insurance Company?
Insurance companies often refer to police reports to determine fault in car accidents. As a result, a police report in which an officer determines that the other driver is at fault can help you seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer.
However, if the police report indicated that you were partially at fault for the accident, the other driver’s insurance company may be less willing to award you the funds you need. Oklahoma is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that if the report finds you over 50% responsible for the accident, you may not be able to receive any compensation from the insurance company.
Can You Use a Police Report In Court?
Unfortunately, police reports are typically not admissible evidence in court. The court considers police reports hearsay, as the officers who write these reports did not actually witness the accidents.
However, police reports can give you some leverage in a settlement before you transition your case to court. For example, if you show the other driver’s insurance company that the officer at the scene considered their customer to be at fault, the insurance company may decide to settle your case outside of court.
Get Help from an Oklahoma Car Accident Attorney
Police reports can work in your favor in an Oklahoma car accident lawsuit—if you leverage them correctly. When you hire us, we will gather any relevant evidence, including the Oklahoma police report, and present a convincing case to the insurance company on your behalf. Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation.