Will an Error on My Police Report Hurt My Car Crash Claim?
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Jul 31, 2020 in Car Accidents
If the police report from your car crash wrongly reports that you caused the accident, or has other types of mistakes, then yes, it could damage your claim.
At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, we discuss some of the most common errors that we find on police reports and what steps you should take to get them corrected or removed.
After being involved in an accident, you may benefit from hiring a licensed attorney to help you pursue compensation for the injuries you suffered. Learn whether you may have a case by taking advantage of our free, no-obligation legal consultation.
How Mistakes on a Police Report Can Happen
Police reports are taken on the scene of an accident, and it is easier than you may think for an officer to make a simple mistake in the middle of something as chaotic as a car crash.
Although officers are trained how to properly handle and investigate an accident, it still requires human judgement. While at the scene, police will talk to all drivers and others who may have witnessed the accident to try to understand what happened. Additionally, officers may look at:
- Debris from the vehicles
- Damage to all involved vehicles
- Fresh skid marks caused by one or more of the vehicles
Check Your Copy of the Police Report for Errors
Get a copy of your police report as soon after an accident as possible to see if it contains any mistakes.
First, review your report for simple errors that can be easily fixed, such as:
- The day, date or location of the accident
- Description of the weather and road conditions
- The make and model of your vehicle or the other party’s vehicle
- Where the vehicle was damaged (front, rear, etc.)
- Other factual errors that can be proven with supporting evidence
The next step when reviewing your police report is to read how the officer recorded the accident description and your statement. If you feel it is incorrect or wrongly represented, you can take steps to have it revised. Unfortunately, these types of mistakes take more time and patience on your part. You may not feel it is worth the effort, but leaving a mistake can seriously damage the outcome of your claim.
Why You Should Get Errors Removed from Your Police Report
There are many ways a mistake on the police report could impact the outcome of your claim. For example, if you are wrongly assigned more than your fair share of fault, it could determine whether you are able to recover compensation for your damages. This is because of Indiana’s modified comparative fault system.
If you are wrongly assigned 51 percent or more fault for the crash, you will be unable to pursue a claim. Even if you are assigned less liability and still may recover some damages, the amount you are awarded will be reduced by your degree of fault. In terms of numbers, for example, if you are found to be 20 percent at fault and your total award is $100,000, you will only receive $80,000. That is your amount of compensation minus your degree of fault.
Steps for Getting Errors Removed from Your Police Report
First, we strongly recommend that you do not delay getting your report corrected. Here are some steps for fixing errors:
Providing documentation, such as vehicle registration, to prove the make and model of your car is often enough to have the error removed or corrected.
These are mistakes are harder to get corrected, but there are some steps that can help. The first and most important step is to not delay getting any mistakes fixed. We recommend you get started immediately by:
- Contacting the officer (his or her information will be on the report) and politely explain the error
- Ask the officer if he or she will revise the statement
- If the officer will not make any changes to the report, then write up your statement about the accident, sign and date it and ask that it be attached to the original report.
- To strengthen its credibility, this document should include more than your opinion about what happened. Be clear, concise and provide details. If you can provide supportive evidence, such as photos, dash cam footage or other documentation, that will further help to strengthen your argument.
A Qualified Attorney May Benefit Your Car Crash Claim
If you were involved in an accident caused by the negligent actions of another, we strongly recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Car accident claims can be challenging, especially if some of your supporting evidence, such as the police report, does not properly represent the facts. Our attorneys have spent decades helping injured clients in Indiana, and we are prepared to help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.
Initial consultations with one of our South Bend car accident lawyers are completely FREE, and there is no obligation for you to file a claim after this meeting. We are prepared to help you learn whether you may have a claim and answer your questions about how a car accident case works.
Call our firm for legal help today. We do not get paid unless you do. (844) 678-1800