Crash Reports / Police Reports
Posted on January 19, 2021
Many times driver’s who have been involved in a car crash or trucking crash, tell us that the officer investigating their crash, got the facts wrong. Or they tell us that the at fault driver admitted they were at fault, “according to the police report”. Did you know, that a Police Report from a traffic crash does not come into evidence at a civil jury trial? Did you know any statements made to the investigating officer at or near the scene of the crash is considered “privileged”, which means it cannot be used against the declarant (the person who is involved in the crash who says something to the investigating officer).
This is why it is so important to speak with and hire First Choice Law, immediately. It is important to get the names and numbers of any witnesses while on the scene of the crash and, if, possible, to take photos of the cars and the area. Too often we have seen where dishonest people say one thing at the time to the investigating police officer, only to later change their story. What is in the crash report is not admissible as evidence in a jury trial.
Additionally, just because you are ticketed or found at fault by the officer, does not mean you don’t have a case. We greatly respect police officers. However, if the officer did not witness the crash, his determination of fault (unless he is a specifically trained expert in crash reconstruction, which very few are so trained), does not determine who caused the crash. Our personal injury attorneys in Orlando have experienced many cases where the police report indicates our client was at fault, only to learn our client was never even questioned by the officer. We have, in sum circumstances, retained accident reconstruction experts to recreate the crash scene, in order to prove our driver was in fact blameless in causing the crash.
First Choice Law does not rely solely on the crash reports in determining liability (fault) of a client. We take the extra effort to explore how the crash really happened. We know the Crash Report or Police Report is not admissible and, unless the officer was there to witness the crash himself, we rely on far more evidence than what the average officer can rely on. This might include downloading “the black box” of a vehicle. But that is a topic for a different post!
Just remember, just because the investigating officer determines fault, does not mean it is true. We have provided Florida Law below for your review. Remember, the crash report and police reports, and any statements contained therein as part of the crash investigation, do not come into evidence in a Jury Trial in Florida.
Florida Statute 316.066 (4) Except as specified in this subsection, each crash report made by a person involved in a crash and any statement made by such person to a law enforcement officer for the purpose of completing a crash report required by this section shall be without prejudice to the individual so reporting. Such report or statement may not be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal. However, subject to the applicable rules of evidence, a law enforcement officer at a criminal trial may testify as to any statement made to the officer by the person involved in the crash if that person’s privilege against self-incrimination is not violated. The results of breath, urine, and blood tests administered as provided in s. 316.1932 or s. 316.1933 are not confidential and are admissible into evidence in accordance with the provisions of s. 316.1934(2).
If you have been the victim of another person’s negligence and involved in a car, truck or motorcycle crash and have any questions, please call Jason Recksiedler, certified as an expert in civil trial law by the Florida Bar, or Caroline Fischer Espi at First Choice Law. We are available at 321-999-1111 24 hours a day. You may also send us an email at email@example.com or fill out the online form located on this page and we will contact you back shortly.
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