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What To Do If A Police Report Is Wrong

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How To Correct A Police Report After Your Car Accident

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Car accidents are unfortunately a common occurrence.According to The Wandering RV, 6million car accidents occur every year. This year, you may be involved inat least one of these 6 million accidents. If this is your first accident, youmay not be aware that you should file a police report as soon as possible.After all, this report serves as a vital document in your personal injury case.

Once the report is filed, be sure to request a copy of thepolice report. However, be aware that errors can be discovered throughout thereport. Fortunately, these errors can be amended, of which youll find out howbelow.

Politely Ask For Changes As Soon As Possible

Its best to get a copy of your accident report as soon as you can to check for any errors. If you notice any issues, contact the officer who filed the report immediately.

They may be able to help make changes before they finalize the report.

Be sure to be polite with the officer, since they will be more likely to make those changes if you are respectful.

Police Reports Generally Aren’t Admissible In Court

Police reports are generally not admissible in a car accident lawsuit filed in court. For the most part the inadmissibility of a police report stems from its status as “hearsay evidence.” In legalese, hearsay is a statement made out of court, and later introduced in court, in an attempt to prove the truth of an assertion.

Put a bit more simply, a police report is hearsay, at least where it’s used in court to try to prove fault for a car accident, because the police officer made the report , but did not personally observe the accident. On the other hand, if the police officer did observe the accident first-hand and testifies about it in court, their testimony would be admissible in court.

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What Details Does A Police Report Include

This document contains the circumstances and facts of a car accident as the police see it and as reported by those involved. These details are important to insurance companies and lawyers when determining who was at fault for the accident. Reports may vary based on the state or the agency taking down the report. Some of those details may include:

  • Names and personal information of drivers and passengers
  • Insurance information
  • Descriptions of damages to vehicles
  • Passenger and driver injuries
  • Violations of the law
  • Diagram and photographs of the accident scene
  • Possibly a statement of who may be at fault for the accident. Note that this is the opinion of the police officer who wrote the report.

How Do I Contest Or Amend A Police Report Filed Against Me

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Police reports are documents filed by an officer following any type of incident. Any member of the public can call a police department or visit one to file a police report. Many reports are filed following a minor car accident that involved property damage but no injuries, which means the police might not have been called to the scene. What if the report filed by the police was incorrect? Are you able to contest the report?

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My California Car Accident Police Report Is Wrong

It’s not uncommon for car accident victims to receive a copy of the report and find that some information is incorrect.

Some people feel they were wrongly determined to be at fault for the accident, while others note there are factual errors and missing information.

Understandably, potential clients have multiple questions and need to know what to do if the car accident police report is wrong.

What If The Report Is Wrong

You then wonder what, if anything, can you do to get the error corrected. That all depends on the type of mistake that is in the report.

If it is merely a clerical error, such as a misspelled name or erroneous date of birth, you can probably rest assured that these types of errors can be easily explained and will not impact your case. Likewise, it would not be necessary to contact the officer to get a corrected report.

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S To Take To Correct Your Police Report

If you find errors in the police reporteven factual onesyou do not want to ignore them. Here are some helpful tips on how to get a police report corrected:

In addition, hiring an attorney soon after your crash is always a smart strategy. He can help you avoid mistakes, investigate your accident more thoroughly, and negotiate your settlement. If you were involved in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, our firm today to schedule a free consultation with David Brauns.

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False Information By Third Party

A police officer is not guilty of a crime if:

  • he files a report of a crime, and
  • includes in it false information given by a witness or other third party.

An officer is only guilty for his own false information.

Example: Marcos is an officer and responds to the scene of a battery. A witness lies and tells Marcos that he saw the suspect hit the victim with his own eyes. Marcos includes this information in his report of the case.

Here, Marcos is not guilty under PC 118.1. While his report includes false information, Marcos did not falsify anything. He just recorded a lie that was made by a witness.

When Supplemental Reports Cannot Be Used

Police departments across the country typically dont allow the filing of supplemental police reports in any of the following circumstances:

  • Evidence has yet to be collected
  • The situation is still an actively dangerous one
  • If the info is in relation to the location of the suspect
  • If the filing is being used to report gunshots
  • Domestic violence
  • Significant property loss

A supplemental police report is an important document that many police departments use in various situations. As with regular police reports its possible for a member of the public to request a copy of such a report when necessary.

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Amending Disputed Facts In The Police Report

The more difficult task is to amend a police report when you or your attorney simply donât agree with something contained in the report â not because of a mistake of fact, but because youâd reach a different conclusion or youâd characterize something in a different way.

For instance, letâs say you disagree with the details of the accident as described by a witness or another party to the accident. In the report, Witness 2 states that Driver 1 entered the intersection while the traffic signal was still green, but you think the traffic signal was already red at the time.

Itâs very difficult to amend a police report in situations like this, because Witness 2âs statement may not be technically incorrect .

Likewise, even if you disagree with the wording of a statement that the officer claims to have taken directly from you, or if you feel that your statements were mischaracterized in some way, you probably will not be able to have the actual police report changed. So what can you do? Your remedy is probably to write up your own account of the accident or your observation as to certain key details, and ask that this evidence be attached to the police report. Under most department policies, it will be within the officerâs discretion whether or not the new information is included in the existing report â in other words, you can make your case that the requested change be made, but itâs not up to you.

Have you been in a car accident?

Reasons To File Your Own Police Report

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Should the police decline to come to your minor auto accident, an official police document will be an asset for the following reasons:

  • Delay in damages. Not all damage to the cars or the people involved is apparent at the scene of an auto accident.
  • Future liability. Even if you and the other driver appear to agree about what caused the accident, you can’t be sure that they will hold this same opinion later on. A police report is a powerful document should there be litigation.
  • Facilitating a settlement. A police report may expedite the insurance claim process.

Be sure to notify your insurance agent immediately when you are involved at the scene of an auto accident. Safety Insurance offers a you should exchange with the other driver.

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Why You Should Hire An Experienced Frederick Auto Accident Attorney

If you choose to hire a Frederick auto accident attorney to represent you, you have to tell the attorney or his staff quickly when you see errors in the police report and attach a memorandum explaining why you think the opinion is inaccurate. Again, include photographs and witness statements. Your Frederick auto accident attorney or their staff should promptly follow up with you and then intervene on your behalf with the police officer.

If the case is serious enough, the auto accident attorney will involve the services of an accident reconstructionist or similar expert. Again, the information that you know needs to be given to that expert before he or she prepares her report. Often we will get the expert to then talk directly to the police officer. Again, this needs to be done at an early stage of the case.

Finally, if charges have been filed, you should speak with the prosecutors office and give an explanation as to what you think is in error. Again, if you have a Frederick auto accident attorney, let the lawyer do that.

How Do Insurance Companies Use The Police Report

Insurance companies make their own initial determination of who was at fault for the accident and how much they should have to pay. The insurance companys decision is never final, but it does provide an important starting point for your claim. In order to make their determinations, the insurance companies use adjusters. Adjusters are trained to use the facts they have about the accident to determine fault and financial liability.

Adjusters almost always review accidents from an office well after the accident has occurred. It is rare for insurance companies to send someone to the scene of the accident. Because of this, the police report is one of the most important pieces of information the adjuster has. The police report may have witness statements, accident diagrams, and descriptions of the damage to each car, just like the adjuster would get if they were on scene.

The adjuster will often accept the police report as true even if it is wrong.

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How Will Your Auto Accident Lawyer In Houston Handle A Mistake On A Police Report

Some mistakes on a police report will be a lot harder to fix than others.

If the police report is wrong with any of the following details, it can be very difficult to get it changed:

  • Who was at fault The officer may have made a finding of who he believed was at fault. If he accidentally writes the wrong partys name down as the responsible party, hell be reluctant to change this information.
  • The road conditions Part of the police report used to recreate accident scenes is the road condition report. If this information is incorrect or missing, the only way to fix it is to refer to pictures.
  • If pictures were destroyed or omitted There is always a chance that an officer could lose certain pictures of an accident scene. This is crucial because sometimes, pictures are the only way to prove who was at fault.
  • Incorrect eye witness information If the police report has the wrong name or contact information for key eyewitnesses, you may have a problem. There is not much chance to get the correct information once everyone has left the scene. Hopefully, you may be able to reach these people through social media or directory assistance. Chances are, the cops wont have this information written down anywhere.

Your Houston personal injury attorney will work hard to get the report corrected. If he is unable to do so, hell just have to find other ways to prove that the defendant was at fault.

What Do I Do If My Car Accident Police Report Is Wrong

What To Do When the Accident Report’s Wrong

If you believe the officers opinion of fault is wrong, you have options. A good car accident attorney can help you challenge the report and pursue your claim.

For example, perhaps a police officer reports a car accident scene where a motorcyclist rear-ended a large commercial truck and died. The report provides that the motorcyclist rear-ended the commercial truck and the accident was the motorcyclist’s fault.

The motorcyclist’s family believes the car accident police report is wrong. Their attorney discovers that the truck driver’s GPS tracking device shows that the truck driver did not stop at a stop sign and the motorcyclist could not avoid hitting the truck.

In that case, the attorney could try to get the officer to amend their report based on the additional evidence. If the police officer refused to change their determination of fault, the attorney could still use the evidence to support a different version of events. They could also use the information to cross-examine the police officer at trial and cast doubt on their version of events.

Therefore, even if you find out your car accident police report incorrectly details your accident or paints you as the at-fault party, never assume that report eliminates your chance for recovery. A qualified personal injury attorney can work diligently to gather evidence refuting the incorrect car accident police report.

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Requesting Your Accident Report From The New York State Department Of Motor Vehicles

For accidents that occurred in Nassau County or Suffolk County, we have found it best to request the report from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles . There are two ways to request your accident report:

  • Online: To obtain your accident report online, you will need a credit or debit card and you must fill out this form. You must have at least one of the following pieces of information: the plate number of a vehicle involved in the accident, or the 8-digit DMV case number . The cost of requesting a report online is $22 . Of course, fees are subject to change.
  • : We greatly prefer utilizing the online request method because of the immediacy of the results. This way, other necessary documentation can be filed promptly. However, for those who prefer mail, the procedure is as follows: To obtain a report through the mail, you must fill out a Request for Copy of Accident Report. The form asks you to provide as much information as possible about the accident . The cost of requesting a copy by mail is $25 . Again, fees are subject to change.

Whether you obtain the police accident report online or by mail, be sure to save proof of payment as you may submit this to the No-Fault Insurance carrier for reimbursement.

Why Do Police Reports Sometimes Have Mistakes

The officer writing the report is human, so mistakes can show up in any area of the document. Errors can happen for many reasons. Officers are not accident reconstruction engineers they determine fault based only on what they see, the statements of the drivers involved, and available witnesses. If the situation is unclear or someone gives inaccurate information, it can lead to inaccuracies in a crash report.

Your police report could have mistakes about:

  • The exact time or date of the accident
  • Vehicle makes and models
  • Who was in each vehicle
  • The statements of drivers or witnesses
  • The order of events leading up to the accident
  • Degrees of injury and property damage

Slight inaccuracies about the time of the accident or an incorrect digit in a VIN may be relatively simple to amend, but disputing who the report names as at-fault is an uphill battle.

If youve been in an accident, give yourself the best chance to correct your crash report by working with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Slight inaccuracies about the time of the accident or an incorrect digit in a VIN may be relatively simple to amend, but disputing who the report names as at-fault is an uphill battle.

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