In Virginia, can a copy of the police crash report be entered into evidence at the trial of a personal injury case arising out of a car accident?

The below information was written by our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach.

No. In Virginia, police crash reports are inadmissible in any trial. Furthermore, no reference can be made to a police crash report by a witness or a lawyer at trial. According to the Virginia Code, “all crash reports made by investigating officers shall be for the confidential use of the Department and of other state agencies for accident prevention purposes and shall not be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal, arising out of any accident.” Writing on the purpose of the prohibition against introducing a police crash report into evidence at trial, the Virginia Supreme Court has said: “The rationale of the statute is that the report, although routinely and sometimes hurriedly made, primarily for statistical purposes, nevertheless carries with it the stamp of a written and official document to which a jury could attach more weight than it is properly due.”

In a personal injury case arising out of a car accident, the facts of the accident can be presented at trial in various ways, including through witnesses who testify as to their recollection of the accident, photographs of the accident scene, photographs of the vehicles involved in the accident, video of the accident, and, in situations where an exception to the hearsay rule applies, testimony from witnesses regarding statements made by persons who witnessed the accident. Click here to learn more about the hearsay rule in Virginia. Police officers who respond to a car accident can testify as to the things that they observe at the scene and, if an exception to the hearsay rule applies, to things said to them by persons at the scene, but police crash reports prepared by the officers are inadmissible at the trial of any resulting personal injury case.

Questions regarding the admissibility of evidence at trial and exceptions to the hearsay rule are specific to the individual personal injury case, and we encourage you to contact one of our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach. We can advise the prospective client as to what testimony a witness can give at trial and what testimony will be prohibited on the basis of hearsay or some other rule of evidence. As in all personal injury cases, an experienced personal injury lawyer can also advise the injured person as to the value of the injury claim, can guide the injured person through the process of making a claim with the applicable insurance company or companies, and can represent the injured person in the litigation of the personal injury claim, if a personal injury lawsuit becomes necessary.

Waiting can hurt your case. To find out how our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach can help you, please contact us at (757) 486-2700.

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