Are Police Reports Admissible in Injury Cases in Florida?
When pursuing compensation in a lawsuit, several pieces of evidence will be needed to prove the case. You might wonder if the police report from your accident is admissible as evidence in Florida injury cases.
Unfortunately, Florida does not permit police reports to be submitted as evidence. Florida law is clear that police reports cannot be used as evidence, but that does not mean that they are useless. Your police report is a valuable source of information and can help our firm identify the parties to hold responsible in your case.
If you were injured and wondering how your police report will help, our South Florida personal injury attorneys can answer any questions you have. Contact the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. at (954) 568-3636 for your free case review.
Is the Police Report from My Injury Case Admissible in Florida?
Getting a police report after suffering a personal injury in an accident is not only a good idea, but it might also be required. For instance, Fla. Stat. § 316.065 requires drivers to immediately report a car accident involving injury, death, or at least $500 vehicle or property damage to law enforcement. It is common for police to investigate a car accident, after which they will generate a police report. While police reports are made available to the parties involved, their use as evidence in a lawsuit is another matter altogether.
Unfortunately, Florida is one of the few states that does not allow for police reports to be admissible as evidence in a personal injury case. According to Fla. Stat. § 316.066(4), police reports cannot be used as evidence in any trial in Florida. This is because of Florida’s rule against hearsay evidence being used in court. While there are exceptions for certain forms of hearsay, they do not include police reports. The results of breath, urine, and blood tests are the narrow exceptions that are admissible evidence from a police report.
That does not mean your police report does not have any value to your case—quite the contrary. Your police report can be instrumental in several ways. Even if the police report itself is not admissible, it is still possible to get that information into court by having the officer testify to what was in their report. At the very least, your police report provides a great starting point for our Florida personal injury attorneys to track down other important pieces of evidence and witnesses to use in your case.
What Can My Police Report Be Used for in My Florida Injury Case?
Most people are surprised to learn that their police report is not admissible evidence in their lawsuit. Naturally, you might wonder what use your police report has, if not as evidence. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys know that your police report has numerous uses that can make all the difference in the successful outcome of your case.
As mentioned, the information in your police report is not necessarily prevented from being introduced as evidence at trial, only the report itself. A police report usually includes statements from witnesses and observations made by the investigating officer that might conclusively show who was at fault. This is the primary reason why a plaintiff would want to use it as evidence. While the report cannot be submitted as evidence, you can call the investigating officer as a witness in your trial to testify to the observations they personally made. Witnesses identified in your police report could also be called to testify to the things they observed.
Your police report also serves as a powerful source of information that our team can use to track down additional evidence and witnesses that could help your case. A police report will typically include the contact information and insurance information of the parties involved, as well as details about the accident scene, like the location and time of the incident. Even if the other party refuses to offer their insurance information to you, the police will ask and include it in their report, which our Florida personal injury attorneys can help you obtain later. With just the name and address of the liable party, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Evidence that is Admissible in a Florida Injury Case
Of course, now that you know that your police report is inadmissible evidence at trial, you will want to know what evidence you can use in your lawsuit. To prove that another party was responsible for your personal injury, you will need to provide enough evidence to establish each element of the claim that you are bringing. Finding the right evidence is a common practice for our experienced Plantation, FL personal injury attorneys.
Your police report is often the best starting point for evaluating liability in your case and where to begin our investigation. If there were eyewitnesses in your accident, we can reach out to them on your behalf and help secure their testimony. Our team will also investigate the location of your injuries to determine if security or residential cameras captured footage of your accident. Dash-cam footage can also be used if it captures important details of the accident.
If your injuries resulted from a complex accident, our firm can help obtain expert witnesses to testify in your case. Experts might be necessary to explain to a judge or jury why an accident occurred the way it did or explain a complex medical diagnosis that only professionals would be able to understand.
Evidence is also needed to prove your financial losses resulting from injuries. This typically comes in the form of medical records, records of lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. This evidence will be necessary to prove the past and future compensation you deserve and lay the foundation for claiming pain and suffering damages stemming from the emotional impact of your injuries. Our West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys can help you gather the evidence you need to get the compensation you are entitled to.
Our Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
If you recently suffered a personal injury, our Miami personal injury attorneys can help you make the best use of your police report in your lawsuit. For a free case evaluation, call the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. today at (954) 568-3636.