When you’re in a car accident, it’s a good idea to have law enforcement show up and write a report. In fact, if there’s an injury or property damage at or above $1,000, you are required to get a police report and file it within ten days of the accident if the officer has not done so already.
In the immediate aftermath of a crash, it can be hard to explain everything that happened to the police while they’re taking notes. At the same time, the police are human, too. Mistakes can be made by any party, but once they’re in the report (and you realize it after the fact), can those errors be corrected? Yes, they can and should be—a mistake in a report could affect the outcome of an insurance claim.
How do mistakes in the report happen?
Whether they’re getting several different versions—one from you, one from the other party, and even those of witnesses—of what occurred or evidence was simply overlooked, the police may make mistakes on the accident report. Errors of fact are generally easy to fix. They may include:
- Incorrect driver license numbers
- Misspelled names
- Incorrect make, model or color of vehicles
- Transposition errors
- Errors in insurance company or policy number
- Incorrect addresses or phone numbers of those involved in the accident
- Errors in the accident diagram
Judgment errors and disputed facts are trickier. For example, the officer may feel that you were confused and interpret that as the possible influence of drugs or alcohol, without proof. Or he or she may have misinterpreted a statement. There can also be disputes regarding conclusions made by the police as to whether you or the other driver was speeding, or a contradictory account by a witness. The officer may also have added an opinion as to who was at fault. Remember, just because it’s what the officer put down in the report, it is still an opinion.
How to correct mistakes on a police report
Often, the easiest thing to do is to contact the investigating officer’s police department. If you’re not sure of the officer’s name, a name and/or badge number is on the receipt they typically give you at the scene. If they put down the wrong model of your car or transposed the numbers on your license plate, that can be easily corrected. When errors are more complicated or involve opinion over fact, you can appeal to the officer’s superior.
At what point should you involve an attorney? If a police report is pivotal to the insurance company’s settlement offer, or if the injuries you or a family member sustained are severe enough, working with a qualified Texas vehicle accident attorney will be in your best interest.
Don’t let police report errors keep you from getting the best possible compensation
If you have been in a car crash and believe that there are critical mistakes in the police report, contact our League City law firm today. To schedule a free consultation, please call us at (281) 645-5000 or contact us online.