Can I Request Changes to a Police Report After an Accident?

Can I Request Changes to a Police Report After an Accident?

One of the most important things to do after an auto accident is to request a copy of the police report. This vital document contains tons of helpful details like the names of the people involved, their contact information, the street names, and the officer’s account of what happened.

But what if the report is inaccurate? Maybe you read it over and discovered the officer made a mistake about who hit who, whether or not it was raining, or even the basic facts like your name or date of birth. Now what?

Mistakes and omissions in police reports are just a fact of life. Police officers work under pressure and sometimes they make errors, but there are ways you can request corrections.

Preventing Errors at the Scene of the Accident

You can help prevent errors from happening in the first place by interacting carefully with the on-scene police officer and helping them capture information correctly. It’s fair game to point out things like the weather and debris from the crash, but don’t try to actively persuade the officer to see things your way.

If you notice that the officer is recording something incorrectly, politely point out the error. If the officer still ends up including inaccurate information, follow up with their police precinct as quickly as possible after the accident.

Check the police report for errors in important accident information like:

  • The location of the accident and the directions involved
  • The cross-streets
  • Street signs and signals
  • The names of the people involved
  • Any witnesses
  • Exactly what was said by whom
  • Exactly how the incident occurred, step-by-step
  • License plate numbers of all involved vehicles
  • Types of vehicles, including makes, models, and years
  • Damage to the vehicles and other property damage
  • Insurance information
  • Weather information

Following Up to Request a Correction

The best way to pursue a correction after the accident is to contact a car accident lawyer who can interact with the police department on your behalf. Your attorney works in your best interests and has experience working with police departments in a positive and professional manner.

Make sure to arm your lawyer with the relevant documentation they’ll need to request a correction to the police report. For example, if the officer’s report states that there was no vehicle damage, provide photos and a car repair shop’s estimate to prove otherwise. If the officer described the roadway as dry, share a video or weather report that shows the actual icy conditions.

Here’s Why an Inaccurate Police Report is Such a Big Deal

The police report usually serves as the basis for an insurance claim or car accident lawsuit. If the insurance company knows nothing else about your accident, they know what’s contained in the police report.

That’s why an inaccuracy in the report can cause you so much grief. The insurance company could deny your claim merely because a minor detail puts you in a bad light. Or the other driver might use something from the report - something you know is a mistake - to sue you for a huge amount of money.

So again, if you find an error in the report, request a change quickly as possible with the help of a smart, experienced lawyer.

Dealing with Disputes and Complex Situations

There’s always a chance that the responding officer and/or their police precinct won’t see things your way. You may have an ongoing dispute where you’re providing ample evidence that something in the report isn’t right, but they refuse to change it.

Don’t let things escalate without talking to an auto accident attorney. And don’t make any accusations or threats toward the officers, because you could easily get yourself into legal trouble by doing so.

Your attorney will understand the best way to navigate this tricky situation. They may be able to convince the police to change the report, or at least prove to the insurance company that the report is inaccurate and use evidence to prove it. This can bring your case back from the brink of disaster and lead to much higher-value compensation.

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Lyssa G.

"Sally did an amazing job settling my personal injury automobile accident case. I was stopped on the freeway and rear-ended by a texting man in a big truck (don’t text and drive). Aside from the wonderful and unexpected settlement, the best part was that instead of dealing with the slimy insurance settlement case worker (who wanted to show up at my work to verify my injury), I dealt with Sally and her knowledgeable and kind staff. It gave me peace of mind to be able to deal with someone with so much integrity who had my interests in mind."

Experience a serious car accident in San Francisco?

Check out our San Francisco Car Accident Page to learn more about how the process works.

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At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we’re car accident experts and we love to help California people. If you’re trying to get a police report changed after being injured in an accident, contact us for a free initial consultation to discuss your situation. We’re here to help!

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