It is bad enough to get hurt in an accident, but when the police report is wrong and doesn’t correct facts, you might not get as much compensation as you should. Do not give up in this situation. You might be able to get the officer to correct the errors in his report. Sometimes, we have to challenge the incorrect information in court and convince the judge of what actually happened that caused your crash.
You cannot dispute random parts of the police report and force the officer to prove the questioned aspects of the report. If you want to raise a question about a fact or allegation in a police report, the burden is on you to prove without question that the report is wrong.
The Difference Between Facts and Conclusions
An officer might state correct facts but draw the wrong conclusion. For example, the officer might write down the correct:
- Names and addresses of the drivers involved in the wreck
- Makes and models of the cars
- Insurance information for each vehicle
- Location of the crash
Despite getting these facts correct, the officer might wrongly accuse you of causing the accident. A determination of who caused the wreck is a conclusion. Sometimes we can use the facts on the report to show that the conclusion as to fault is incorrect.
Let’s say that the officer noted that the other driver ran a red light and ran into your vehicle, but incorrectly marked you as the driver at fault. This situation might be a simple mix-up of checking the wrong box on the accident report form. When you read the entire report, it might be clear that the officer made a mistake about causation and the police report is wrong. In some other instances, we have to seek evidence outside of the report to prove the mistakes in the document.
How an Accident Reconstruction Expert Can Help Correct Errors in Police Reports
In some cases, the officer might have misinterpreted the accident scene and unfairly assessed the blame to the wrong driver. The careless driver might lie to the officer and be more convincing than you. We might need to work with an accident reconstruction expert to figure out what happened and build a case to prove that you did not cause the crash and that the police report is wrong.
Accident reconstruction experts use engineering principles, math, computer programs, and specialized skills to determine the events that led up to a collision. The sooner we can get the expert to the scene of the accident, the better. Make sure that you call us as soon as you realize that there might be a contested issue about the crash.
Accident reconstruction experts:
- Investigate the crash
- Go to the scene of the collision
- Take photographs and measurements
- Evaluate skid marks and other temporary evidence
- Look at the damage to the vehicles
The experts then take that information and feed it into software that can determine things like:
- The speed of the vehicles before, during, and after impact
- The direction and angle of each car
- Whether a driver suddenly swerved, accelerated, or applied the brakes
- Whether a driver stopped for a stop sign or red light
Analyzing these facts can result in a conclusion as to who caused the accident. These experts can prove their conclusions scientifically, so they do not have to rely on opinions or judgment calls. The accident reconstruction experts can create models, charts, and computer-generated videos to help the court understand what happened to cause the collision.
What to Do About Clerical Errors
The officer might make typographical mistakes on the report. In these situations, the officer might write a supplemental report clearing up the errors when a police report is wrong. You might need to show proof that the information is incorrect before the officer will fix the issue. For example, if the officer misspelled your name, you might have to take your government-issued identification to the police station before the officer will correct the mistake.
Why You Should Not Ignore Mistakes on Police Reports
It is best to try to clear up errors when a police report is wrong as soon as possible. In most situations, you would not want to go to trial on your personal injury case and have the judge ask you why you did not raise the issue earlier.
If you did not challenge the inaccuracies and an unreasonable amount of time went by, the judge might decide that you lost the right to do anything about the errors. You could get stuck with what the report says.
The way to correct the mistakes will depend on the facts of your dispute. A personal injury lawyer can explain your options.
At S. Burke Law, we help people who have gotten hurt due to the carelessness of others. We take pride in treating our clients like family. If you are looking for caring, responsive representation for your personal injury case, call us today at (404) 842-7838. The initial consultation is complimentary, and there is no obligation.