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If I Am In An Accident, Can I Use the Police Report In My Lawsuit Against the Driver That Hit Me?

A close up of a police traffic collision report indicating the type of contact had been made between the vehicles.

You are driving home late from work one night when the light turns green at the intersection you are stopped at and you slowly accelerate forward. Suddenly a large semi-truck in the left-hand turn lane barrels into you before you can even react, plowing into the side of your vehicle. Thankfully, you were far enough into the intersection that the truck driver hits the side of your car towards the back of the car, completely crushing the trunk area and totaling your car, otherwise, you might have been dead. As it is, you feel immense pain in your back and can barely move as he approaches your vehicle and asks if you are okay. A police officer shows up on scene before either of you can even pull out your mobile phone to report the accident to the police and ask that they send out an officer to investigate. The officer explains he was watching the whole thing. Before you are transported to the hospital, he interviews you and then gives you a copy of the accident report, which states that the truck driver was at fault for failing to yield the right of way and ignoring the red light when making his turn.

Having this accident report feels great despite how much pain you are in. You think this will be a home run for getting compensated for your losses, including the bills for all the medical treatment you are sure to need and the costs associated with replacing your car. Unfortunately, you need to think again. Under Virginia law, and as is true in many states, an accident report cannot be used as evidence in any proceeding, whether civil or criminal, related to a motor vehicle accident. Therefore, if you are hit by another driver, your attorneys will need to find another way to prove who was at fault in the accident. However, experienced attorneys like those at Kalfus & Nachman know how to prove the negligence of the driver that hit you even without the ability to use the accident report as evidence in your case.

What Exactly Is The Rule Regarding Motor Vehicle Accident Reports and Why Does It Exist?

The accident report privilege has been the law for many years. It states that accident reports are inadmissible, or cannot be admitted into evidence, in any type of court proceeding regarding the accident. The rule stems from a concern that the driver who may have caused an accident will be prejudiced in his or her ability to defend him or herself if the report is allowed to be used as evidence at a civil or criminal trial related to a motor vehicle accident but he or she had no ability to question the officer that wrote the report before it was completed. After all, if you are on a jury and you hear that a police officer conducted an investigation and determined that one driver was at fault, then you are likely to simply conclude the police officer knows what he or she is doing, is experienced at making these kinds of calls, and that you should go with whatever he or she found regarding causation of the accident. However, this is not fair to the motorist that caused the accident, because often a police officer who is on the scene may not have access to all the relevant facts but is instead making a real-time assessment without the benefit of hindsight or some of the other investigative tools that police have.

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman

Even if you are not permitted to use an accident report that may be very helpful for you, at Kalfus & Nachman, our experienced Virginia personal injury attorneys have recovered millions in compensation for our clients who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence. At Kalfus & Nachman, we have experienced this very fight many times before. We utilize the very best accident reconstruction experts and other forms of evidence to explain why the other driver caused a motor vehicle accident in which our client was injured. Therefore, if you live in the Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach or Roanoke, Virginia, areas and have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence in a motor vehicle accident or in any other scenario, then please contact Kalfus & Nachman PC by phone today at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation regarding your particular situation.

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