While police reports are not admissible in court for legal reasons, the police officer’s conclusions as to the cause of an auto accident can be very important to the settlement of your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. His insurance adjuster will review the report, and the police’s determination of the driver’s fault could eliminate at least one area of dispute in your settlement negotiations. However, police officers are human and sometimes make mistakes. What can you do if you obtain a copy of the police report and discover that it is not accurate?
How to Amend Factual Errors in the Police Report
A factual error in a police report, such as the make of your vehicle or your insurance policy information, can be relatively easy to correct. You can collect the documents that show the right information and contact the police officer to discuss the inaccuracy. Often he will amend the report once you provide him with the document that shows the correct facts.
Correcting Factual Disputes in a Police Report
Disputes about facts surrounding the collision or the officer’s conclusions can be more challenging to correct. You may feel that the officer mischaracterized your statement to him as to what happened or you may not agree with a witness’ version of what occurred. For example, you may know that the light was red when the negligent driver went through the intersection and hit you, but a witness could claim that the light was green.
When contacting the officer about this type of error, you need to be realistic about the possibility that you will not change his mind. You can increase the chances of convincing him to correct the report by remaining polite, not getting into arguments, and not threatening to discuss the problem with his supervisor. Here are steps you can take to try to correct the report:
- Try to correct the report before it becomes final since it is easier for the officer to amend the report before this happens. You should contact the officer soon after the crash to go over the facts and issues that you are worried are inaccurate. If you do not see an error until you get the police report, contact the officer right away.
- You may want to prepare a written statement to provide to the officer. If you do this, you should consult with an experienced car accident attorney first to be certain you do not make a mistake that could hurt your claim for compensation. When writing the statement, stick to the facts and not your opinions.
- Provide the officer with any documents or information that support your position, such as pictures of the accident scene, damage to your vehicle, and how your vehicle was damaged.
- If you believe that you were too injured to give an accurate statement at the time of the wreck, obtain medical reports that support this to give to the officer. He may be willing to interview you again and amend the report.
- If the police officer is not willing to correct the report, ask if he would attach a statement prepared by you to the report. It is in his discretion to agree to this.
An experienced car accident attorney can advise you on the best approach to correcting an inaccurate police report and may contact the officer for you. He will also be able to help you file your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company and negotiate your settlement for you. To discuss your situation and how our car accident legal team can assist you, call our office to schedule your free consultation.