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I have been told that a police report stating that I was not. At fault in an accident cannot be admitted in court . True?

Murfreesboro, TN |
Attorney answers 7

Posted

The accident report is hearsay and inadmissible to prove or disprove what it says.

This answer is provided as a public service for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Providing this information does not create an attorney-client relationship nor is any information shared considered privileged or confidential. As with all legal matters, you should contact an experienced attorney and be aware that there are time limits for asserting potential claims.

Posted

The police report is not evidence. Statements in the report likely are hearsay. However, it may be possible to obtain useful statements having evidentiary value by deposing the police officer who wrote the report.

This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Posted

It's hearsay.

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Posted

The bare police report itself is hearsay and inadmissible, if someone object. If the report is not helpful, your attorney mighty leave it at that. However, if the report is helpful, your attorney can do depositions of the witnesses and/or the police officer at the attorney's discretion in order to establish negligence by the other motor vehicle operator. Police officers are allowed to read from their police reports on the stand every day of the week in order to refresh their memories.

This summarizes the issue. The evidence in your case will rise or fall on rules of evidence, which your attorney will guide you through. Here's more: Blue Links Below:

Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.

Posted

The police report is not evidence. More importantly, the police are not "street judges", so no, its not admissible.

Please note that my answering this question, does not, in any way, mean I represent you for this, or any other case. You need to seek that actual face-to-face advice of any attorney in your area who can further explain the law as it applies to your case.

Posted

If you want the more complicated legal answer here it goes. The report is inadmissable in court in Tennessee. Normally considered to be an "out of court statement" offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted therein, it cannot be admitted because a party would not be able to cross-examine the report and that would violate several principles of jurisprudence and/or the confrontation clause of the Constitution. However, in Tennessee, there is an exception to the exclusion for some official reports and other business records, which normally could allow admission of this governmen report. However, there is a specific law in Tennessee that provides police reports in this situation are inadmissible.

What you may find is a lawyer may call a police officer to testify and he tries to read from his report instead of testify based on personal knowledge. This is also improper unless it is used solely for the officer to refresh his memory of events that he has personal knowledge. Most times, police officers were not present when the accident happened and their personal knowledge would be limited to what they observed after the wreck occured and this would include any statements given by those involved in the wreck. This is why your insurance company normally tells you "don't admit fault." That statement can be used against you in court.

In your case, unless the police officer is testifying as an accident reconstructionist, I doubt he will be allowed to testify that you were "not at fault," or otherwise can establishe a proper foundation for that testimony.

Law is state-specific and laws may vary from state to state. You should consult an attorney in your state for specific legal advice. This answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Posted

T.C.A. § 55-10-114(b) specifically prohibits a crash report from being admitted into evidence at trial in Tennessee. If there are no witnesses to the wreck, then yes ... it may be your word against the other driver.

This response is given solely as a general response to the question and does not create an attorney / client relationship between the questioner and responder.

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