When you must file a claim for compensation with the negligent driver’s insurance company after an auto collision, having a police report can help convince the insurance adjuster of their liability to pay you. However, the police do make mistakes when investigating car accidents and writing their reports. Here are steps you can take to correct yours if it contains mistakes.
Two Types of Errors in a Police Report
There are two types of mistakes the police could make in a police report: factual errors and non-factual errors. Factual errors are based on objective information, such as the make or model of an automobile or the date of the wreck, and can be relatively easy to fix.
Non-factual errors often involve disputed information or mistakes in the officer’s conclusions that you do not agree with. They are much harder to correct than factual mistakes.
How to Correct Errors in Your Police Report
You are more likely to be successful in correcting a mistake on a police report if you act quickly. You should check the police department’s website to see if you can dispute the report on their website. If not, you will need to notify the police officer who wrote the report of the error. Here are five tips on what to do:
- Be polite. You should remain polite in all your communications with the police. They are much more likely to listen and take your concerns seriously if you are.
- Provide documentation. You should obtain documentation that establishes the correct information. This can be easy to do if the mistake is a factual error, such as a mistake in the make and model of your vehicle. If the error is disputed information, such as if you do not agree with a witness’ statement or the officer’s conclusions, you need to provide as much evidence as possible, such as other witness statements and photos taken at the crash scene.
- Obtain medical records. Suppose you made statements that were not correct due to your injuries or medications being administered to treat your injuries. In that case, you may need to provide the officer with your medical records to establish this. This could convince them to correct the statements or include a supplemental interview.
- Write a statement. If you have a disputed information error, you may not be able to convince the police to correct the police report. However, you can ask that they attach your statement to the report. If they agree, be sure you stick to the facts when writing your statement and attach any documentation that supports your position.
- Hire a lawyer. One of the best ways to try to successfully correct a police report is to hire a skilled car accident attorney and have them contact the police on your behalf. They will also file your claim and go up against the insurance company so that you have a better chance of receiving the compensation you deserve in your settlement. This can be more challenging if your police report is inaccurate.
What Happens If You Cannot Get the Police Report Corrected?
Although it is helpful to have a police report that supports your right to compensation for your injuries, having an inaccurate police report will not ruin your claim. If you retain a knowledgeable car accident lawyer, they can conduct a much more extensive investigation into the cause of your crash and obtain the evidence that could help prove that the other driver was the negligent party. This can include:
- Photographs. Photos of the damage to the autos involved in the collision, crash scene, and road and weather conditions can help prove the cause of the crash.
- Eyewitnesses. Your lawyer can interview any eyewitnesses who saw your wreck occur and obtain their written statements. Their testimony can be especially persuasive if they do not know you and have no stake in your claim.
- Surveillance videos. If a nearby business had surveillance cameras, they may have recorded your auto accident as it occurred. Your lawyer may be able to get the video footage before it is taped over.
- Black box. Your attorney may be able to obtain the black box of the vehicle that struck you. It can provide vital information, such as how fast the driver was driving, the force of impact, and whether the brakes were applied.
- Accident reconstruction expert. Your lawyer may hire an accident reconstruction expert. They can examine all the evidence, determine how the collision occurred, and create a computer-generated reenactment of the crash.
Were you or a loved one in a car accident in Roswell? Fill out our online form or contact our Roswell office at 575-300-4000 to schedule a free initial consultation with our experienced car accident lawyers to learn how we can assist you.