When you’re in a car accident, you rely on police officers to make an accurate accident report for both legal and insurance purposes. Unfortunately, police officers don’t usually witness the accident first-hand; therefore, most of their report is subject to opinion and interpretation. However, police officers must accurately obtain all fact-based matters essential to your car accident case.
Depending on the type of information that is incorrect or that you disagree with, you may be able to dispute an accident report to make a correction. A competent car accident attorney can help determine whether a police officer’s inaccuracies are enough to significantly hurt your accident claim and what you may be able to do about it.
Types of Errors on Police Reports
Police reports contain valuable information, and even minor errors can largely disrupt your car accident claim. When officers must report quickly to a scene and deescalate serious car accidents, they may write important details down wrong or forget to collect certain documentation or statements from other drivers.
Accident reports are typically the first piece of evidence in your case. Officers that respond to the scene of your accident gather numerous bits of information, including:
● Date, time, and location of the accident
● Interpretation of what happened
● Road and weather conditions
● Witness and driver statements
● License, insurance, and vehicle registration information
● Pictures and notes from the scene
Although police officers make thousands of reports, there is a chance an error can be made. Errors can be both factual and disputable. Below is a detailed explanation of these types of errors.
Factual errors can be objective mistakes, such as incorrect details regarding the vehicle or driver identification, statements, injuries, and road conditions. For factual errors, police officers are usually more willing to correct your accident report if you show them the mistake and provide documentation that verifies the correction. If you notice a factual error on your police report, move quickly to fix inaccuracies and secure the updated report to send to your insurance company.
Disputable information is subjective. It comprises decisions or interpretations the responding officer makes based on the certain circumstances of your accident. If you’ve given an officer a statement and the officer perceived that you were at fault based on your statement, you may disagree with what is in the report. Unfortunately, correcting disputable discrepancies is not easy. You might be able to summarize your own version of what happened as supplemental evidence to your accident report, but that is entirely up to the officer’s agency.
Consequences of Inaccurate Police Accident Reports
While police accident reports can’t be used as evidence in court, there are still many consequences of an inaccurate police report. The most notable consequence is related to insurance companies. Insurance companies send out personnel to investigate the accident to determine who is liable. The accident report that was given to them heavily influences their assessment and account of what occurred.
The wrong information can impact your ability to secure full financial compensation for your losses, especially if an insurance company believes you bear fault. Other consequences of inaccurate police accident reports include:
● Unnecessary tickets and fines
● Points on your license
● Increased insurance premium
How to Correct Errors on a Police Report
One of the most important things you should do after an accident is to obtain a police report. Many accident victims don’t even realize that there are any errors because they never actually have a physical copy of the accident report. After you review the report and believe that there is an error, contact the police officer who responded to the scene of your accident. On the report, you’ll be able to see the officer’s name and contact information, if you didn’t already obtain that information yourself at the accident scene.
Respectfully talk to the officer about the error you noticed and ask whether they would agree to change it. However, in cases involving disputable errors, you may need to go to your DMV and request a dispute form. This way you can document your version of the accident. Don’t forget to add any substantial evidence and any form of pictures, videos, and witness statements that you may have been able to obtain after the accident.
Expert South Florida Car Accident Attorney on Your Side
The most effective way to dispute police accident reports, investigate your accident scene, and protect your rights is with an expert South Florida car accident attorney. Attorney Robert B. Baker of Baker Legal Team is a Board-Certified trial attorney who will look over your accident case and make a persuasive argument on your behalf, despite the information in the police report.
For nearly 30 years, Attorney Baker has helped individuals across South Florida with a variety of car accident–related issues. Robert is a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who has successfully litigated insurance disputes before state courts. In addition to his significant litigation practice, Robert is a member of numerous leadership activities including the American Association for Justice and Florida Justice Association. Trust Attorney Baker to get you the justice you deserve. To schedule a consultation, call (561) 320-000 or complete a contact form today.