The police report is designed to separate fact from fiction and to include the law enforcement official’s experienced account of how an auto accident occurred while incorporating eyewitness accounts of the crash.
Unfortunately, when things become chaotic, accident reports may not tell the whole story or may contain some inaccuracies.
Often time’s statements given to law enforcement at the scene of an accident are not as clear as you would hope. Confusion from the accident, the adrenaline from an injury, or an at-fault party misstating the truth all can lead to statements in a traffic report being inconsistent with the actual facts of an accident.
That is why it is important to ensure that the traffic report accurately reflects your recollection of the accident.
Why is the Police Report Important to My Auto Accident Claim?
First, if you do not demand a police report after an accident the other driver may contest that the accident occurred at all. Lacking a legal document that says there was a crash, it becomes your word against theirs. And their insurance company will fight to maintain their policyholder’s position that they were not at-fault for your injuries.
Insurance companies rely heavily on police reports, using them as a primary resource to determine fault and negligence when evaluating claims for damages.
Without one, your chances of recovery become thinner.
The same may be true when the police report is inaccurate.
Can I Ask the Responding Police Officer to Correct the Police Report for My Accident?
At Hanning & Sacchetto, our Whittier auto accident attorneys suggest anyone who has been in a traffic collision review the police report for accuracy before leaving the scene.
If you believe that the police report taken after your car accident is not accurate or is incomplete, speak to the responding officer immediately about any inaccuracies and ask for the correction to be made at the scene, so there is no confusion later.
The compensation you deserve for your injuries after a car accident could be at risk depending on the details in the police report.
What If I Discover the Inaccuracy After Leaving the Accident Scene?
Correcting missing or inaccurate information on a police report after leaving the scene will require contact with the responding officer, which is often easier said than done.
Ask your Whittier auto accident attorney to represent your request for changes, as their experience in contacting the officer and requesting changes will far outweigh your attempt at have changes made.
How Can I Prove the Information on the Police Report is Wrong?
The responding officer will not simply make a change to the police report because you — or your attorney — says so.
We must provide objective evidence that the change is required, which may include:
- Accident timeline that supports the change;
- Video of the accident or accident scene;
- New eye-witness accounts.
Any factual supporting evidence will help clear up any police report inaccuracies.
Can I Request Changes to the Police Report Without Legal Representation?
Yes. And the chances of success are much higher if the missing or inaccurate information is identified at the scene of the accident.
Afterward, the process will become difficult and could make a difference in your case’s successful pursuit for financial recovery. Partnering with an experienced car accident attorney will help increase your chances of procuring a change or addendum to the report.