Can a Police Report Be Changed After an Accident?

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Can a Police Report Be Changed After an Accident?

Police reports are typically drafted at accident scenes, sometimes in chaotic conditions. Therefore, the final document can contain errors or miss details that could be crucial for understanding the crash and proving fault.

If a police report does not accurately reflect what happened in your collision, you might want to know, “Can a police report be changed after an accident?” The answer is generally yes; you could make changes to the document. However, the process can be complicated and may require relevant evidence proving the proposed changes.

Since an accurate police report could be vital for receiving an insurance payout or prevailing in a personal injury lawsuit, consider getting legal help if the document contains significant errors. Morgan & Morgan’s experienced car accident lawyers know how to correct police reports and protect your rights.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation to find out more.

Understanding Police Accident Reports

A police accident report is an official document created by law enforcement officers who respond to the scene of a car accident. The purpose of the report is to document the details of the accident, such as:

  • Date and time
  • Location
  • Weather and road conditions
  • Circumstances of the crash
  • Drivers’ contact and insurance information
  • Witness statements
  • Damage to vehicles
  • Injuries of those involved in the accident
  • Traffic citations

The report serves as an objective record of what happened and can help identify who caused the accident. It can also assist insurance companies and car accident lawyers in evaluating the extent of damages and injuries.

If you were involved in a car accident, obtain a copy of the police report as soon as it becomes available and review the details to ensure that all information is accurate. Moreover, if the document contains significant errors, understanding how a police report can be changed after an accident can be critical for your insurance claim or legal case.

When Changing a Police Report May Be Necessary

A police report can be changed after an accident if it contains factual errors and discrepancies. Police reports are legal documents establishing the facts of a crash that could be used as evidence in court. Therefore, the record must be as accurate as possible. However, altering a police report is a serious matter and should only be attempted in certain situations, including the following:

Errors in the Document

One reason for changing a police report is finding errors in the document. For example, if the police officer made a mistake in the description of the collision or the names of those involved.

If you find errors in your accident report, contact the police department as soon as possible to request a correction. You may need to provide evidence to support your claims, such as witness statements or photographs of the accident scene.

Missing Information

If your police accident report omits critical information, contact the police department as soon as possible, explaining what is missing. Missing information could include:

  • Weather at the time of the accident
  • Road conditions
  • Vehicle information
  • Details of drivers
  • Witness statements

Inaccurate Witness Statements

Since most accident reports are hastily drafted at the crash scene, errors can occur when an officer records witnesses’ accounts of the crash. Inaccurate information can include:

  • Witnesses providing incorrect information to the officer
  • Witnesses’ names and statements are mixed up
  • Omission of important information from witnesses

If you believe a witness made an inaccurate statement or information is missing, you should contact the police department. Provide evidence to support your claim, such as other witness statements, photos, and videos contradicting incorrect information.

Additional Evidence Becomes Available

Changing a police report may be necessary if additional evidence becomes available after the officer completes the document. For example, if you discover new information unavailable at the time of the crash, such as dash cam footage or a new witness, report the new evidence to the police department.

Changing a police report may be necessary for certain circumstances. However, approach this process carefully and with valid reasons, providing appropriate evidence to support your claims. If you need to know how to get changes approved, speak to a car accident lawyer at Morgan & Morgan, who can protect your rights and help you correct a police report.

How to Change a Police Report After an Accident

Discovering inaccuracies in your police accident report can be frustrating. While mistakes can happen, ensuring the report is as accurate as possible is crucial. If you are wondering how a police report can be changed after an accident, here are some steps you can take:

Check the Report Carefully

Carefully review the police accident report as soon as you receive it, making notes of any inaccuracies you find, such as incorrect information about the location of the accident or the circumstances surrounding the crash. Try to be as specific as possible when identifying errors.

Collect Evidence

If you have evidence supporting your findings, such as photos or witness statements, gather and organize them. This can help you explain why the information in the police report is inaccurate.

Contact the Police Department

Once you have identified the inaccuracies in the police report and gathered evidence, contact the police department that created the report. Explain the errors you have found and provide supporting evidence. Depending on the police department’s procedures, you may be able to send the information via email or mail, or you may need to make an appointment to speak with an officer in person.

Be Respectful

It is natural to be frustrated when a police report contains errors, especially if the mistakes are detrimental to your case. However, being respectful and professional can be vital for a positive outcome. Remember that the officers are there to help you, and they, too, want the information in the report to be accurate.

Follow Up

After you have contacted the police department, make sure to follow up and check on the status of your case. It may take some time for the department to review the information you have provided and make the necessary changes to the report.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

If you suffered severe injuries and considerable financial damages in a car accident due to another’s fault, a police report full of mistakes could sink your insurance claim or legal case. A car accident lawyer at Morgan & Morgan could review the document and identify inaccuracies or omissions. They can work together with the police department to correct the errors, ensuring that the report accurately reflects the accident’s circumstances.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • How Do I Get a Police Accident Report?

    If you were involved in a car accident, getting a police report can be vital, as you might need the document for an insurance claim or to prove liability in a lawsuit. Here are your options for obtaining a police report:

    File an Online Request

    Some police departments have online portals where you can request a copy of the police report. You may need to provide some information, such as the date and location of the accident, and pay a small fee. The report will then be mailed or emailed to you.

    Visit the Police Department

    You can visit the responsible police station to request your police accident report. When picking up your report, you must provide the relevant information and pay the applicable fee.

    Mail a Request

    You also have the option of mailing your request to the police department. Include all the necessary information to help law enforcement locate your report, and enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope.

    Through Your Insurance Company

    If your insurance company is investigating a claim related to the accident, they may already have the document and can usually provide you with a copy. Getting the document from your insurance company can save you time and effort.

    Through Your Car Accident Attorney

    If you have hired a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury claim, they could help you recover a copy of the police report.

    Whichever option you choose, get the police report as soon as possible after your accident, as it can be an essential document for insurance claims or legal proceedings. Review the document and identify any mistakes, as a police report can be changed after an accident. 

  • Is a Police Report Admissible as Evidence in Court?

    Police reports can help understand an accident and determine who is responsible. However, they are not always admissible as court evidence. Here are some reasons why:

    Hearsay: Police reports can contain statements from witnesses or victims considered hearsay, meaning they are secondhand accounts of what happened. Hearsay is generally not admissible in court.

    Lack of firsthand knowledge: Police officers drafting police reports usually arrive at the scene after the accident. Therefore, they do not have firsthand knowledge of how the crash occurred.

    Inaccuracies: As we have seen, police reports can contain errors that could cast doubt on the accuracy of the entire document. Opposing counsel in a lawsuit could exploit such inaccuracies and discredit the report.

    While police reports may not be admissible as evidence, they can still contain critical information. Therefore, changing a police report after an accident can be critical if there are substantial mistakes.

  • Why Do I Need to Get a Police Report?

    One reason you may require a police report is if you need to file an insurance claim. Your insurance company will likely require a copy of the police report to process your claim.

    You may also need a police report in order to pursue legal action. Your lawyer can use the document to help them investigate and understand the accident.

    Since the report typically includes the responding officer's opinion on who caused the crash, the document can be helpful in determining fault. However, the insurance company or a car accident attorney will not rely on a police report alone and will conduct their own investigations.

  • Could I File a Car Accident Lawsuit Without a Police Report?

    While you could file a personal injury claim without a police accident report, you may face problems. Moreover, without a police accident report, gathering compelling evidence, such as photographs, videos, and witness statements, can be critical for your legal claim and help you to build a case against the at-fault party.

    Sometimes, particularly in minor accidents, the police may not have been called to the crash scene. If this is the case, you may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, it is important to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer who can clarify your options and help guide you through the process.

  • How Long Do I Have to Report a Crash?

    If you were involved in a crash without law enforcement attending, reporting it can be critical for protecting your rights. In most states, accidents must be reported if someone is killed or hurt and there is considerable property damage. Failing to report a crash can have legal consequences and result in penalties and, in the worst case, land you with a criminal charge.

    Moreover, you should act fast. Many states require you to report a collision immediately by calling law enforcement to the accident scene. In some states, you have up to 30 days to report a crash.

  • Contact Morgan & Morgan for Help After a Car Accident

    Discovering that the police report includes glaring inaccuracies that are unhelpful for your insurance claim or lawsuit can be upsetting and frustrating. However, an incorrect report is no reason to despair.

    A police report can be changed after an accident, and Morgan & Morgan is here to help. Our car accident attorneys can correct the police report and pursue a claim to recover the compensation you deserve. The fee is free until you win.

    Contact us now for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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