Posted on Wednesday, January 29th, 2020 at 1:49 pm
If you have been injured in a car accident, police officers will almost certainly be called to the accident location. This may not happen if there are no injuries unless the vehicles that have crashed obstruct the traffic. When police officers attend an accident scene, they will compile a police accident report. This report will be an essential piece of evidence if you intend filing a personal injury claim against whoever was responsible for the accident and your injuries. But what happens if when you read through the copy of the police report you find that there are significant errors in it? Let’s face it, police officers are often very busy people and can make mistakes, just like the rest of us.
What is included in a police report?
A lot of very basic information is included in a police report:
- the date, time and location of the accident;
- the names and contact details of the parties involved;
- the names and contact details of any eye witnesses;
- damage done to the vehicles involved;
- injuries to any people involved in the accident;
- conditions present at the accident e.g. weather, visibility;
- photographs taken at the scene;
- any violations noted;
- statements by parties involved and eye witnesses;
- diagram of the vehicles at the scene;
- opinion of the officer attending regarding how the accident happened.
As can be seen by the list, it is pretty comprehensive. It’s no surprise that insurance companies value these reports. Because police reports are written by what insurers consider impartial observers and are written at the scene of an accident, they have more credibility than anything a plaintiff may submit based on their own observations.
Eye witness statements are also useful, but unless they are recorded or written at the scene of the accident may be called upon days, weeks or even months later, by which time memories are fading and may fail to recall events altogether.
What can be changed in an incorrect police report?
When you obtain a copy of a police report and are depending upon it for an insurance claim, you do need to check through very carefully to make sure that the details are correct as you know them to be. There is a limit to what you can respectfully ask a police officer to change if you find details are not what you remember. Generally, details that can be easily verified by providing evidence are likely to be corrected. That includes things like dates, times, location of the accident, type of vehicles involved, names of people involved, injuries and damage to the vehicles, etc.
What police officers are far less likely to alter is any opinion they might have made about the cause of the accident, or their observations about the attitude or behavior of anyone involved in the accident.
It is far easier making sure that a police report is correct immediately after the accident when you are still there when police arrive than later on. Police officers handle incidents like this sometimes several times a day, so after a week or more may be forgiven from not remembering one particular incident, however important it is to you.
See a dedicated car crash attorney at Patino Law Firm in Mcallen for advice after any type of car crash, especially if you are worried about the validity of any evidence you have managed to obtain, including a police report. You can make a free appointment by calling 956-631-3535.