A police report can be vital in determining what happened in an accident. It helps determine who is at fault for the crash, what insurance companies cover, and what evidence they consider.
Keep reading to examine some of the problems associated with a police report and what you should do if you think it is incorrect.
What is a police or accident report?
A police or accident report is a document that details what happened during an accident.
They are often created by the officer who attended the scene of a crash and can include what they saw, what drivers and witnesses said, measurements taken at the scene, details of damage caused to vehicles, and any evidence collected.
This information can be used to decide what happened in an accident, what caused it, what evidence is relevant to the case, and who is at fault.
Police reports can be used by insurance companies to make a determination of fault. This is why it’s vital that the information in the accident report is accurate.
What if the police report is incorrect?
Request a copy of the police report as soon as possible and address any problems just as quickly. If you don’t, insurance companies may rely solely on what was written in the report when they decide what will happen to your claim.
When you find an error of any sort, it is important to take immediate action. These could be minor errors, such as mistyping a number on your license plate. Or it could be a more major error, such as inaccurately determining fault.
No matter the mistake, get in touch with the police department where the report was filed to discuss what you have found.
If the police disagree with your findings, Carner & DeVita have experienced accident lawyers who can help you to make sure what happened at the scene of an accident is correct.
This will include checking what was written in a police report as well as looking at any available dashcam footage, eyewitness accounts, and GPS data from vehicles involved.
Types of Errors in a Police Report
- The exact time of the accident
- The exact location of the accident
- The exact date of the accident
- Vehicle makes, models, colors, etc.
- License plate numbers and vehicle registrations
- Who was in each vehicle, including passengers
- Driver statements
- Witness statements
- The order of events leading to the accident
- Property damage amounts
- The severity of injury(ies)
- Spelling of names
How to Obtain a Police Report
If you have been involved in a car accident and called the police, there will be an official police report about the accident.
You will need a copy of the report to file a personal injury claim for the damages incurred in the car accident.
To request a police report, you can call the police department and formally request the document. In New York, you have the option to obtain your report online, as well.
Once you have the report, review it before you submit it to your insurance company or your lawyer. You should be sure that all of the information is correct before letting anyone from the other party’s team receive it.
How to Correct a Police Report Mistake
There are two types of mistakes on police reports: factual and non-factual.
Factual mistakes involve errors where there is evidence of the mistake. For example, the report states that your car is black when it is blue.
Nonfactual mistakes are subjective errors. For example, someone’s recollection of events or a determination of fault.
There are ways to contest both types of errors. Let’s look at how you can correct an incorrect police report.
If you find a factual error in your police report from your accident, get proof to back up your statement and take it to the precinct. Let them know of their mistake and share the evidence.
Evidence can include a photo of your vehicle’s actual color, your license plate with the correct number, et cetera.
Visual evidence is often best in this case.
If you find a non-factual error in your police report, you will have a tougher time contesting it.
Non-factual errors are subjective and often don’t have strict evidence to back them up. For example, a police officer could make a determination of fault incorrectly based on lies from the other driver. This could put you at risk of being held liable for an accident you did not cause.
The best way to correct a police report with inaccurate information is to contact Carner & DeVita. Our lawyers can help you prove your case to the police and correct the report before your claim moves to negotiation, where it could impact your compensation.
Filing Claims for Damages if the Police Report Is Incorrect
You can file a car accident lawsuit for damages even if the police report is incorrect.
Even though police reports are important, if your case goes to trial, they are not unquestionable determinations of fault. The Court will not determine fault based solely on a police report. Instead, they may allow it as evidence.
Police reports have more weight in settlement discussions. So having an incorrect police report is going to increase the chances you may have to go to trial if the mistake is not resolved.
Contact Carner & DeVita Today
Our team will help you get the compensation you deserve. Whether that requires us contesting your police report or preparing your case for trial, we are here to help.
Contact us today to find out exactly how a Long Island car accident lawyer can get you maximum damages.