If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should call the police at the crash scene. The police report can contain valuable information, like the officer's conclusion as to who was at fault and any traffic citations issued to the negligent driver. It can help you convince the negligent driver's insurance company of their liability to pay you the compensation you deserve for the injuries you suffered in the wreck.
However, not all police reports are accurate. If you order your police report to send to the insurance adjuster and find it contains errors, you may be able to get it corrected.
Two Types of Errors in Police Reports
Police officers are human and sometimes make mistakes. Because they did not see the accident as it occurred, they must rely on the statements of the drivers and witnesses, if there are any, and the physical evidence they observe. They may be in a rush if they get another call they need to respond to.
There are two types of mistakes that a law enforcement official can make: factual errors and disputed information. Factual mistakes are often easy to correct because they involve mistakes in the vehicle's make or model, date or time of the accident, or other basic details that can be verified.
Disputed information errors occur when the police officer makes a mistake about what the other motorist, a witness, or you said, or makes a finding about how the crash occurred that was not true. They are harder to correct than factual errors.
Six Steps to Take to Correct a Police Report
If you find errors in the police report, you should try to get them corrected, even if they involve disputed information. We encourage you to follow these tips:
- Be polite. Although you may be upset about the motor vehicle accident and the fact that the police officer got something wrong, you need to be polite and respectful when discussing the needed corrections to their report. You are much more likely to get a favorable result if you treat them fairly.
- Act quickly. You should contact the officer as soon as you notice the error. They are more likely to correct the mistake if you notify them promptly.
- Provide documentation. If you have documentation, such as your vehicle registration, that shows the model and make of your motor vehicle, provide this to the police when discussing the mistake that needs to be corrected. When you are trying to correct disputed information, providing pictures showing the damages to the vehicles, a witness's written statement, or other evidence may convince the officer that they made a mistake.
- Get medical records. If your statement to the police at the collision scene or in the emergency room was not accurate because of your injuries or medications you were given to treat them, provide the police officer with your medical records that verify this, and ask to be interviewed again.
- Prepare a statement. You may not be able to convince the officer to correct disputed information in the police report. However, you may be able to prepare a statement to be attached to the report.
- Retain a lawyer. Your attempt to have a police report corrected will be more successful if you retain an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer right away. They can contact the police on your behalf or give you additional tips on how to get the report changed.
Have You Been Injured in a Kansas City Area Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you've been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you need to speak with an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible. It will cost you nothing to hire us because we handle these cases on a contingency fee basis where you only pay us if we win your case. We will also front the costs and fees you could incur. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.