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Does the Police Report Determine Fault in an Accident

A police report does not determine fault in an accident in Wisconsin.  A rule of evidence law states that a police accident report is not admissible at trial for the purpose of proving what happened in the collision or for answering the ultimate questions of negligence or what percentage of fault should be assigned to each driver.  Police reports often contain trustworthy and honest information.  But a police accident report is hearsay because the officer completing the report did not witness the accident, he or she is only reporting information after the fact.  In Wisconsin hearsay is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.  Wisconsin Statutes Section 908.01 (3).  Again, another way of saying that unless the police officer actually witnessed the crash, his report cannot be used as proof of what happened before he arrived on the scene.

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