You may have heard the term “hearsay” in many shows and movies featuring courtrooms, as hearsay is a key topic in procedures regarding the admissibility of certain pieces of evidence in court. It may surprise you, then, to learn that police reports about car accidents are considered hearsay. Keep reading to learn more about hearsay, as well as why police reports fall under this category even though New Jersey law requires you to submit a police report if there were grave injuries or substantial property damage. To better understand how a police report can affect your circumstances, keep reading this blog post and contact our New Jersey car accident lawyers.
What Does It Mean if a Police Report is Hearsay?
In the legal world, hearsay refers to a statement spoken out of court that would be offered in court to prove or assert the truth of the topic at hand. In most situations, hearsay is inadmissible in court for this reason, though there are exceptions.
New Jersey courts, however, consider police reports as only admissible in part. Police reports will be used for their description of the facts regarding the accident, and any conclusion or opinion the police officer may have offered in the report is not admissible. In some cases, you may need to get the officer who came to the scene of the accident to testify in court.
When Should I Report a Car Accident?
Under Section 4-130 of the New Jersey Statutes Title 39, New Jersey drivers have to report a car crash if anyone was hurt or if the crash caused more than $500 in damages.
If you plan on filing a personal injury claim, and you know you weren’t at fault, then the police report will be a great tool for you. Police reports include a huge amount of key information regarding the accident, including:
- Who is at fault for the accident
- Who was injured and how were they injured
- The names of the parties involved
- The phone numbers and addresses of those involved
- The insurance information of those involved
- The driver’s license of both parties
The bottom line is that if you are involved in a car accident, it’s always wise to call the police and ensure they file a police report at the scene of the accident.