The police accident report says that I was not at fault in my wreck and that the other driver was at fault. Can I used the police report as evidence at a trial to prove the wreck was not my fault?
Not in Tennessee state court. A rule of evidence specifically excludes police accident reports from the types of public records that can be admitted into evidence at trial to show how an accident occurred.
Why? Because unless the officer actually saw the accident the police report is only the officer’s opinion about what happened. That opinion may be based on solely on whether the officer believes one person or the other and may have little value in determining what actually happened.
A police officer who see a wreck can be asked to testify about what he or she saw. He or she can also be asked about what the people involved in the lawsuit said after the wreck and about measurements taken at the scene of the wreck. But the police report cannot be introduced into evidence absent extraordinary circumstances, whether the officer is there or not.
This does not mean that a police report has no value. A police report can go a long way in persuading an insurance adjuster that his or her insured is "at fault" in a wreck. Conversely, a report that does not fault the insured will greatly hamper one’s ability to settle the case with the insurance company for that insured.