If you have been involved in a car accident, particularly one involving injury, responding law enforcement will typically arrive on the scene and write a detailed police report. While these are generally accurate summaries of what happened, no report is perfect. Find out what to do if you disagree with how law enforcement documented your crash.
The information in a police report
When responding to an accident, police will collect a wealth of information about what happened. This includes identification of the people involved and witnesses who saw what happened, along with vehicle damage, road debris, the final position of the vehicles and sometimes a diagram or two. Cops will also look for some preliminary findings about the primary causes of the accident.
Police report and your insurance
Because of all the information included in a car accident’s police report, the document is used by insurance adjusters to review injury and vehicle damage claims. How the report is written can have a huge effect on the assignment of blame and settlements. Because it is also a fundamental document should your case go before a judge, any detail included by responding law enforcement could potentially be used against you.
Correcting factual errors and changing disputable information
Sometimes the police get objective information wrong. This might be details about your vehicle, your insurance coverage or the accident’s location. You can usually get an erroneous report changed or amended if you provide supporting documentation. It is a lot more difficult to make changes if you disagree with something from the report, such as a witness account or traffic law violations. You can write up your own version of the disputed details and this might be included as a supplement to the report, but whether or not to include your addendum is up to the law enforcement agency.
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