If your vehicle accident was serious enough for a police officer to show up, you may have to think about the impact of that officer's report on your insurance claim.
When insurance companies evaluate a vehicle accident, they often look for the most detailed documents they can find. Police reports often fit that bill. But what can you do if you believe the police officer's report is inaccurate?
Can You Appeal a Police Report?
When it comes to police reports, you can disagree with the officer who wrote the report and request that the officer change the report to include accurate information. The officer, however, usually has the final say. If they do not want to change their report, chances are the report will not be changed. In case the police report is being used in litigation, however, state law governing the rules of admissible evidence may preempt the police report or certain parts of it from being considered at all. For example, if a police report contains hearsay and no state law exceptions apply that would otherwise allow its admission, the hearsay may be found to be inadmissible for evidentiary purposes.
Why Does a Police Report Matter?
While a police report may be treated differently in litigation, it can significantly influence how an insurance company decides to respond to your car accident prior to the filing of any lawsuit; accordingly, it is worth your time to make sure the report is correct. If you think changes ought to be made to the police report, your success in having that information altered will depend largely on what type of information you want changed.
- Objective Information – This includes things like the make, model, and color of the vehicles involved, the time of the accident and where it happened, your insurance information, etc. Having your own records of this information may help.
- Subjective Information – This includes information that you may not be able to objectively prove, such as where on the road the accident happened, the exact causes of the accident, and the nature of statements made by drivers and witnesses. If the officer who wrote the report does not agree with your assessment of the situation, they may leave the report as it is.
If you disagree with a police officer's report, you may be able to write your own report and submit it to the police department, where your report may be filed with the official police report as an addendum.
If you have been negatively and unjustly impacted by a police officer's false or misleading accident report, you may want to seek the advice of a legal professional who focuses on these types of issues.