What Are My Options if There is an Error on a Car Accident Police Report?
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on May 6, 2022 in Car Accident News. Updated on May 25, 2023
Car crash scenes are often chaotic, and a responding police officer may overlook some important details when writing up the report. If you obtain a copy of the police report and find it contains a mistake, you have several options available to help you get the error corrected.
When seeking compensation for your damages, it may be in your best interest to speak with our New Jersey auto collision attorneys. We are prepared to help you throughout this process. Relying on the insurance company to help could give them an opportunity to deny or devalue your claim.
We offer a free consultation to answer your questions and learn more about your potential claim. If you choose to work with us, we do not charge you anything up front, and we do not get paid unless you do.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON ERRORS ON A POLICE REPORT?
There are a number of mistakes that can be made on a police report, including the following:
- Mistakes of fact, like names and dates
- Leaving out key findings of the investigation
- Grammatical errors, such as spelling or punctuation
- Being vague with details or statements from witnesses
- Using jargon that makes it difficult to understand what is being said
- Omitting important details about the accident that would make determining fault harder
Sometimes bias plays a role in any errors made on an accident report. For example, a police officer may mistakenly assign fault to a driver who was in a sports car because he or she may have assumed that person was speeding.
In some instances, a mistake may not be explicitly a responding officer’s error. Important information could have been left out because a witness providing a statement to the officer failed to mention it.
HOW CAN I GET A FACTUAL ERROR CORRECTED?
Factual errors can generally be corrected quickly and easily. However, it is important to do this as soon after an accident as possible. To start the process, simply contact either the police department that responded to the scene of the crash or the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). You may also need to provide proof for things like a wrong license plate or driver license number.
When speaking to either the police department or DOT, be sure to specify the errors in a calm and respectful manner. Providing the details up front can also help to prevent any unnecessary delays in getting the corrections made.
If you are working with our attorneys on your claim, we are prepared to help you through this process to make it as smooth as possible for you.
WHAT STEPS CAN I TAKE TO CORRECT A DISPUTED FACT?
If you are trying to correct an error on the police report that is being disputed by the liable party, you may find the process more complicated than correcting a factual error.
Some disputed facts may be more easily proved than others, for example, a driver’s license expiration date. If the insurance company tries to argue you were driving with an expired license you can easily resolve the controversy by providing a copy of your driver’s license.
However, there are other disputes that may require additional evidence to get either the police department or the liable insurance company to budge on already recorded facts.
Some evidence you may be able to use to dispute wrongly assigned fault, for example, includes:
- Photos and videos from the scene
- Witness statements/testimony
- Dashcam footage
- Vehicle black box
This evidence may also help to prove a disputed error that, while it may not automatically bar you from compensation, it could reduce the value of your claim. For example, if your police report claims you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision. Information from your vehicle’s black box could help you prove that you buckled up.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS IF MY CLAIM IS DENIED DUE TO AN ERROR ON THE REPORT?
Generally, the police report is one of the first pieces of evidence liable insurance companies ask for when filing a claim. Therefore, an error on the police report that mistakenly shows you as the at-fault party could quickly lead to your claim being denied.
Fortunately, you have options if this happens to you. First, you can easily appeal the denied claim and then follow the proper steps to have the mistake corrected.
If the liable insurance company refuses to accept your appeal or claims the errors were not the reason for the denial, then you may be able to file a lawsuit to pursue compensation for your damages in accordance with New Jersey auto insurance laws.
CALL US TODAY
Before you file a claim with the insurance company, it is important that you speak to our knowledgeable attorneys who can help you request a car crash report and review it for any potential errors.
For decades, our attorneys have helped injury victims recover maximum compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
Call (800) 518-0508 to schedule a free consultation.