Can You Sue for Injury Without a Police Report?
Police reports can be fantastic summaries of the circumstances of your injury, but you can sue without one.
There are a number of different reasons you may not have a police report: Perhaps you didn't report a crime, you didn't follow administrative procedures to obtain one, or maybe one was never generated. Regardless, you don't need a police report in order to make your injury case.
Here are three things you should know about suing for injury without a police report:
1. Police Aren't the Only Investigators.
Police reports are handy for injury cases because they often contain the relevant facts of the incident and conclusions of reporting officers as to who was at fault. That being said, without a criminal conviction or traffic offense that can be used to show that a defendant was negligent per se, an officer's opinions are just as good as those of a private investigator.
There are private investigators available for just about any kind of crime or injury case, and law firms often hire them to collect evidence, contact witnesses, and draw conclusions about which party was at fault. While a police investigation is free in some ways (they're on the taxpayer's dime), lack of records from a police investigation doesn't mean the case is impossible to investigate or bring to court.
2. Lawyers Can Help Obtain Reports, Records.
You don't have to come to your injury lawyer's office with every piece of evidence necessary to go to trial on for your injuries. While you should bring what documents you have to your first consultation, your attorney will not need to see a police report to take your case. What's more, your attorney can help you use discovery and the subpoena power of the court to obtain most records or documents you were unable to obtain on your own -- even police reports.
3. Prepare a Narrative or Timeline.
If you're missing a police report, you may have trouble putting the events of your injury into a coherent and logical narrative. You're more likely to get an injury attorney to take your case if you have a chronological narrative that frames the facts of your case. Cops provide this sort of narrative in police reports, but yours can be just as good if not better.
Your personal injury attorney can get the ball rolling on your injury case with or without a police report.
- Find Personal Injury Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory)
- 5 Things You Should Bring to a Personal Injury Consultation (FindLaw's Injured)
- Are Car Accident Police Reports Admissible in Court? (FindLaw's Injured)
- 5 Tips for Accidents Involving State, City Vehicles (FindLaw's Injured)
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.