Dealing with the impact of a car wreck can be overwhelming and for good reason.
At Taylor King Law, we’re here to answer your questions and decode the confusion. First up: What should you do if the information in your accident report is wrong?
What Type of Information is Included in the Police Report?
The degree of detail may vary, but you can expect your police/accident report to contain the following information:
- Date, time, and location
- Names and contact information for the drivers involved, as well as witnesses
- Statements from both drivers and witnesses
- Description of damage to the vehicles, including pictures taken at the scene
- Description of any injuries suffered by any person involved
- Narrative from the officer on how the crash occurred, who he believes is the at-fault driver, and whether citations were issued
- Diagram depicting the accident scene
Are Accident Reports Important in a Personal Injury Case?
Absolutely. Although a police report is typically not admissible in court, it remains a valuable document for your personal injury case. In fact, requesting the accident report is the first step for injury lawyers and insurance adjusters alike.
Each party goes over the report in detail. Your injury lawyer will look for evidence that helps strengthen your case and results in the best possible outcome for you, the accident victim. Your insurance adjuster will have the opposite motivation, seeking out details to undermine your claim and pay you as little as possible.
Once you understand the important role that a police report plays in your case, you are probably motivated to ensure that every detail included is correct. What if you think there’s a mistake or false statement on the report?
What Can I Do to Correct My Accident Report?
The good news: It is possible to get a correction or addendum to the accident report. The not-so-good news: It depends on the nature of the information you’re trying to change.
Error of Fact
In one scenario, there’s an error of fact: the location of the accident, the details of your property damage, or the name of the driver. These errors involve objective information that can be shown or proven. In this situation, if you can provide proof that supports the correction (a photo of the accident with the street sign clearly in the background, for example), the police department will likely change or amend the report.
In a second scenario, there’s disputable information: a statement made by the other driver, or the officer’s conclusion of who was at fault. These pieces of information are more subjective and are much harder to have changed. If you believe the other driver gave a false statement, they aren’t likely to remove it from the report. In that case, you should write your own statements and ask to have them included in the report as a supplement.
What Else Can I Do?
An experienced local lawyer is always a great asset for a personal injury case, but especially so when the police report may have inaccurate information. Your attorney will examine your accident report in detail and discuss it with you. If there are factual errors, they can walk you through the steps of requesting a correction. If you feel that statements from the other driver or officer were incorrect, your attorney will be sure that your perspective is heard by the insurance adjuster, judge, or jury.
Don’t let a confusing accident report stand in the way of the compensation you deserve. At Taylor King Law, we have more than 20 years of experience with reading accident reports, contacting police departments, negotiating with insurance adjusters, and representing accident victims in court.
Begin your FREE, no-obligation consultation today. Call us toll-free at 1-800-227-9732 or submit a case form on our website.
Photo Cred: Jordan Andrews