Unfortunately, it’s not that uncommon to find errors in your car accident police report. In fact, many victims find certain details missing or completely inaccurate. Sometimes, the reporting officer may find the victim at fault for the accident instead of the other party.
This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you have evidence that proves otherwise. While it’s not always possible to correct an inaccurate police report, Wells Call Injury Lawyers can help demonstrate the inconsistencies in the report to support your claim.
The Importance of Your Accident Report
Car accident reports are an important piece of evidence used in your personal injury claim. They include a variety of details recorded by the responding police officer, including:
- The date, time, and location of the accident;
- The identifying information of all drivers involved;
- Statements from drivers, passengers, and witnesses;
- Descriptions of reported injuries;
- Damage to each vehicle involved;
- Photographs of the scene;
- Diagrams of the accident location; and
- The responding officer’s opinion of fault.
Insurance companies usually require police accident reports for your claim. Any inaccuracies on the report may damage your chances for compensation, especially if the officer opines that you are at fault.
Does an Inaccurate Police Report Affect My Claim?
A car accident report carries significant weight in your personal injury claim. If the officer incorrectly states that you were at fault, the other driver’s insurance company may use this to their advantage. They might even use the officer’s narrative to minimize or deny your claim.
Thankfully, since California is a pure comparative negligence state, you can file a lawsuit even if you are 99% at fault for the accident. While your percentage of liability reduces the overall damages you receive, it may still be worth pursuing if the insurance company denies your claim.
For example, if you make a rolling stop at a stop sign and get t-boned by the other driver, the jury may find you 60% at fault. However, this means that you may be awarded up to 40% of your damages.
There are other factors in the accident report that may affect your claim. If the police officer refuses to correct any of the information on your report, you may need to prove any inconsistencies. For example, if the officer reports incorrect details about vehicle damage, you may need photos that prove your side of the story. In other cases, you may need an expert to back up your claim, such as an accident reconstructionist or auto technician.
How to Get a Police Report Amended
So you may be wondering, “If my police report is wrong, what do I do?” Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to request changes depending on the circumstances. Here’s how to fix an incorrect police report.
1. Make a List of Every Mistake
The first step is to read the entire report and make note of every mistake you find. For example, if your name is spelled incorrectly or the license plate of the other vehicle is wrong, make a list of the correct information. This is the best way to find any factual errors that the officer may be willing to fix.
2. Gather Evidence to Prove the Errors
To make a change to your accident report, the responding officer may require evidence. Go through the list of mistakes and find the necessary information you need to correct them. Following the last example, if you have a picture of the other vehicle’s license plate number or a photocopy of your ID, that should suffice.
3. Ask the Officer to Correct the Report
Make sure you report any factual mistakes to the officer as soon as possible. In most cases, if you include enough evidence to prove an objective error, they will change the report. However, if you try changing a subjective statement in the report, such as a witness statement, you may be out of luck. Typically, officers won’t change information that could affect the outcome of the case.
What Can I Do If the Officer Refuses to Change My Report?
Unfortunately, most police departments refuse to change the original car accident police report after filing. However, many allow parties involved to submit new information to correct inconsistencies in the original report. The department then files a supplemental report as an attachment. While this isn’t ideal, it’s still better than having no changes made at all. If the officer tells you that they can’t change the report, politely ask them if they can make a supplemental report or attach a new statement to the original. Our attorneys can write this statement for you if needed.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
If you have mistakes on your car accident police report, you may feel hopeless pursuing your personal injury claim. At Wells Call Injury Lawyers, we have decades of experience handling complications with police reports and other documentation. We know what it takes to identify the inconsistencies in an accident report and will fight to correct it so you can get the compensation you need.
Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation and consultation. We are proud to serve clients in Napa, Fairfield, Vallejo, and surrounding Northern California communities.