If you've been involved in a car accident, one of the first documents you'll want to look at is the police accident report. You'll especially want to look for any errors in the accident report so that you can revise them.
An accident report is sometimes not admissible in civil court cases. However, the document is important as insurance companies may look to it to determine accident liability and how much money you'll have to pay.
Here are a few steps you can take to get an accident report revised:
- Call the police officer who made the report. You should first try to call the officer who wrote the report and explain the mistake. If it is a minor error (e.g., a misspelling, wrong car model, etc.) and you can provide proof of the mistake, then the officer will likely make the change. However, if you are calling about a more substantive issue, be prepared to provide evidence that supports your assertions.
- Write a letter to the police officer and provide proof. If a phone call does not work, you may want to write a letter to the police officer reiterating your position and adding evidence as to why the accident report needs to be revised. For example, you can provide an affidavit from another witness or even photographic proof.
- Go to court and argue. If you are on the hook for a large amount as a result of the accident, it may be worthwhile to argue your version of the events in court. The police officer may be called to the stand as a witness, and you may have your opportunity to present your side as well. Keep in mind that litigation can be very expensive, and you may want to talk to an attorney first to determine if this is the right step for you.
Again, insurance companies often rely on police reports in awarding damages. So it's very important that you take a good look at your accident report, and then take steps to revise it if you spot any errors.
- Car Accident Checklist: 5 Things to Do at the Scene (FindLaw's Injured)
- Motor Vehicle Accidents: First Steps (FindLaw - Free Download)
- Should You Take Your Car Insurance's Offer? (FindLaw's Injured)