You were grateful to see the police car arrive at the scene of your accident. You were confident that, as the paramedics looked after your injuries, the responding officers would discover that the accident was caused by the other driver running a red light. You may be shaken up and in pain, but that much of the accident is clear in your mind. As you are taken away in an ambulance, you see the police talking to the many witnesses at the scene and are relieved that they are getting the facts.
After being released from the hospital several days later, you are shocked to learn that the other driver was not determined to be at fault and will not be held liable for your injuries. What do you do now? While it is possible to pursue correcting a police report on your own, it is not a good idea. For that, and for all other aspects of your claim, this is the time to hire a car accident attorney. He will not only see to it that the police report is corrected, but will work to make sure you get the maximum possible settlement on your claim.
Information Contained in an Official Police Report
When a car crash involves injured victims, police officers will be dispatched to the scene. One of their roles is to conduct an evaluation of the crash site and write an official report of the incident. The officer will use an in-the-field worksheet to collect information and will then type up the official report once he or she has returned to the station. The police report should include most of the following information:
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- Personal information and statements from drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- Descriptions of injuries to drivers and passengers
- Detailed description of the cars involved: year, make, model, and color
- Officer's written narrative of the details and causes of the accident
- Officer's diagram of the accident scene and the point of impact
- Description of the at-fault driver's actions that caused the accident
- Weather and road conditions at the time of the accident
- Type and extent of property damage to the vehicles and their contents
- Contributing factors, such as speeding and non-working brake lights or turn signals
Working under pressure, police officers sometimes make mistakes, particularly if they are unable to talk to everyone involved. They can easily misinterpret a scene and inadvertently document events inaccurately on your report. Police reports can be modified and corrected, but you must approach the process very carefully.
How to Correct Errors in the Police Report for Your Accident
For the best outcome, you should have an attorney take the steps to correct a police report. If you don’t have an attorney, this would be a good time to find one. The officer is not going to like being told that he or she has made a mistake, so the approach you take will be important. Your attorney should take the following steps to correct the report:
- It is ideal to correct the report before it is considered final. Your attorney will talk to the officer as soon as possible after the accident to make sure he or she has an accurate version of events.
- Your attorney will offer the officer a written statement of your version of the accident. You will need to supply as many details as possible.
- Photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and damage to your vehicle will be included with the written statement.
- If you were questioned at the scene or in the hospital, you may have been confused by pain or medication and given an inaccurate version of events. Your attorney will gather medical evidence to support this claim.
- If the officer won’t change or amend the report, your attorney will see to it that your statement be included as an attachment.
While you may think you can accomplish these steps on your own, you must understand that the police don’t want to be confronted with their mistakes. You are much better off having an experienced professional handle this important task.
Our Attorneys Know How to Handle the Police
At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we have dealt with the police regarding car accidents hundreds of times. We will bring our knowledge and experience to your case and give it the personal attention it deserves. Call our office at (888) 348-2616 to schedule a free consultation. Do not hesitate—time is of the essence when pursuing a car accident settlement.