Car accidents generate a flurry of paperwork. As you try to manage car insurance information, medical bills and rental car contracts, it’s easy to lose documentation in the shuffle. One piece of paper you definitely don’t want to lose is your police report. An official overview of who was involved and how the accident occurred, a police report isn’t just necessary, it’s invaluable.
Police reports are completed by officers on duty at the time of your accident, and because they’re only human, human errors are bound to occur. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make necessary changes. If you’ve found an error in your police report and need it amended, keep reading to find out how to do so.
Created by the police officers responding to your crash, police reports are issued for virtually all accidents that result in damages. Always call the police to report your accident as soon as it is safe to do so. Police will arrive, assist with redirecting traffic around the collision and ensure that anyone injured receives the medical attention they need. The police report will be filed soon afterwards, based on information collected at the scene.
Police reports are often one of the first pieces of evidence that insurance claims adjusters and attorneys will evaluate. Though generally not admissible in court, police reports are important tools for determining liability. It also records the contact information and statements of drivers involved in the accident. Witness statements are also sometimes included in police reports.
Considering all it entails, it’s no surprise that the police report is often the crucial piece of evidence to determine liability. That’s why it’s so important that the facts included in the police report are correct. Of course, there are differences between facts you might disagree with and the factual errors that are objectively incorrect.
Factual Errors vs. Disputed Facts
Mistakes happen, but when errors are made on police reports, the victims of the car accident often shoulder the subsequent fall out. While it may seem as though the facts in a police report are set in stone, that is not always true. Of course, some facts are easier to alter than others.
Let’s say you got involved in an accident on Peachtree St. If the accident report says that the incident occurred on Peachtree Ave., you’ll want to get the report amended. Thankfully, changing factual errors is generally pretty easy. You’ll need to provide proof of the correct information when you reach out to the officer who wrote your report. Generally, as long as you can provide evidence of the actual correct details, factual errors are easy enough to amend.
Disputed facts, however, can be a little more complicated. If you or your attorney disagree with how the police officer characterized an incident, you may have to fight an uphill battle in order to get it altered. For example, if your Peachtree St. crash occurred because the other driver involved ran a red light, you’d likely feel aggravated when you see the police report claimed that the light was green at the time of the wreck.
Such facts are virtually impossible to disprove. Unless you have a dash cam setup with video evidence that the other driver did indeed run a red light, it will be difficult to get the report amended. Still, you have options: write up your version of what happened and ask to attach your account to the official police report. In most cases, it will be up to the police officer who wrote the report whether or not to grant your request.
Amending the Report
Every police department handles accident reports slightly differently, so you should always reach out via their non-emergency number to ask about the best way to handle changes. Be ready to show evidence of your claims in order to successfully have the report amended. Remember to be polite and to act quickly: police may have written up dozens of reports in the last week or two, so be respectful of their time.
Legal Help for Accident Victims
If you have spotted errors on your accident report and need help making necessary changes, consider reaching out to a local car accident attorney. They can assist you with finding evidence to disprove the error and get the police to cooperate with your request. Lawsuit Info Center can connect you with an experienced, knowledgeable attorney in your area today.
Our free service helps those who have been hurt in car accidents all over the country. We can give you insight into how much your claim could be worth, which lawyers in your area could help and what steps you should take next to protect your best interests. Reach out today to seek the justice you deserve in the wake of an accident.