Serious traffic accidents in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, are unfortunately all too common.
Drivers would do well to exercise caution on Interstate 59, James St., and Barkley Rd., among many other dangerous local thoroughfares.
If an accident does occur, however, you may need a copy of the Hattiesburg Accident Report (known formally as a Mississippi Uniform Crash Report) for the accident.
How to Obtain Hattiesburg Car Accident Reports
Before you attempt to obtain a Hattiesburg car accident report, you should gather relevant information such as your name, your contact details, your driver’s license number, your car’s license plate number, and as much information as you know about the accident (date and time, etc.).
You can apply for a Mississippi Uniform Crash Report online, by mail at Driver Records Division, P.O. Box 958, Jackson, Mississippi, 39205 (call 601-987-1224 to confirm availability), or in person at the Hattiesburg Police Department.
What Hattiesburg Accident Reports Contain
View this Sample Crash Report to gain a detailed understanding of the content of the accident report. In brief, the accident report includes information about:
- Where and when the accident happened;
- The police response;
- Crash circumstances and conditions;
- Photographs of the accident and the scene;
- Information about witnesses;
- Details about the drivers and the vehicles involved;
- Information about passengers;
- Information about any injuries or deaths; and
- A crash narrative composed by a police officer that allows the officer to speculate, present opinions, and draw conclusions.
The last section of the report (containing the narrative) is potentially the most dangerous and the most useful, depending on its content.
How Your Attorney Can Use a Hattiesburg Crash Report to Your Advantage
Your attorney can use a Hattiesburg traffic accident report in the following ways:
As evidence: Many states do not allow the use of police reports as evidence at trial because they are considered inadmissible hearsay. Hearsay is, in a nutshell, any statement made out of court.
The hearsay rule has exceptions, however, and Mississippi applies Rule 803(8) of the Mississippi Rules of Evidence to allow both sides to use the content of an accident report as evidence, at least most of the time.
As negotiating leverage: Even if your claim does not make it to trial (and most claims don’t), your attorney can still use an accident report to pressure the opposing party to settle your claim with you.
In some cases, however, a Hattiesburg Police Department accident report contains statements by the police that could harm your claim (a description of the accident that puts the blame on you, for example).
Remember, however, that although Hattiesburg accident reports are persuasive, they are not invincible. A seasoned Hattiesburg car accident attorney might be able to cast doubt upon the contents of an accident report. They might even be able to have it barred from evidence altogether.
Someone in Your Corner of the Ring
Attempting to negotiate a settlement with an auto insurance company is likely to feel like a boxing match at times. Things could get even worse if your claim proceeds to trial, because you will have to deal with unfamiliar rules of civil procedure and evidence.
At Harris Law Firm, we have been helping accident victims seek just compensation for over 35 years. Let us do the negotiating for you and even take your claim to trial if necessary. Call at 662-335-4171 or contact us online for a free case review.