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HAVENS MALCZYNSKI GRIGOLLA, LLP

Can A Police Report Help Or Hurt My Case? Will My Attorney Have Access To A Police Report?


When it comes to auto accident cases, police reports can sometimes be used by the at-fault party’s insurance company as a golden ticket that allows them to avoid having to pay anything. However, if a police report indicates that you (the injured party) are not at fault and that the other party is at fault, then it could greatly help your case.

Police reports are treated as privileged documents, meaning they can be kept private between the individuals involved. With that being said, if the case were to be filed as a lawsuit and your attorney did not have the police report, then your attorney could serve a subpoena on the police department and get a copy of the police report.

Despite the fact that a police report can sometimes be used as a sword, in my experience, the police report itself will not have 100 percent bearing on the outcome of the case. Oftentimes, police officers show up at the scene several minutes after the accident occurred, and are then fed information from the parties involved. In essence, the police officer is basically only as reliable as the information they’re being given by the parties involved.

In past cases, we have called into question the outcomes and the findings within police reports, causing them to more or less become background noise in the case. Sometimes they set the tone early on in a case, but often end up falling by the wayside once the parties actually start providing testimony.

What Happens If The Injured Party Is Partly At Fault For The Accident?

California is a comparative negligence state, which means that a jury is allowed to decide what percentage of fault should be assigned to each party. If it’s determined that the injured party is 25 percent at fault in a case that’s worth $100,000, then the injured party’s award would be reduced by that amount; that is, they would receive 25 percent less than the total amount, or $75,000 in total.

What Is The Statute Of Limitations For A Personal Injury Claim?

In California, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the incident. However, there are certain exceptions to this. For example, if the accident involves a child, then the statute of limitations is extended until one year from the date on which the child turns 18 years of age. If the case involves a government entity, then a notice of claim must be submitted to that entity within six months of the accident.

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, the governor has extended all statutes of limitations from April 6, 2020 until 90 days after the governor lifts the state of emergency declaration. For this reason, there is a bit of a gray area as to the statute of limitations for some cases.

For more information on Impact Of Police Report On Auto Accident Claim, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (626) 385-6303 today.

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