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Can You Get a Police Report Changed?

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

After a car accident, police may come on the scene and prepare a police report. Police officers are human, and it's not uncommon for them to make mistakes. So you may be wondering if you can have a police report changed.

Unfortunately, the rules for changing police reports are generally vague. Typically, states leave it to individual police departments to determine when and how to change a police report. And many states that do address police reports changes simply leave it to the discretion of the officer who made the report.

Nevertheless, there are some common steps that you can go about changing your police report, writes

Generally, for a factual mistake like a misspelling of your name or address, you can simply provide the officer with a copy of the correct information and ask the officer to correct it. In most cases, the officer will make the change.

The more difficult issue is when you ask an officer to make a substantive change to the report such as a witness' interpretation or the officer's opinion on just what caused the crash. An officer may not have the obligation to change the report so it will be up to you to provide evidence and support as to why your interpretation should be accepted.

You can write a letter to your officer that states your point of view and reasons why the police report is wrong. As the officer who wrote the report is likely the one who will determine whether to change it, you will probably want to adopt a respectful tone.

If the officer refuses, you can ask the officer to explain why and to provide a response in writing. You probably cannot force the officer to make the change, regardless of how egregious you think the error is.

Typically, the police report will be used in a civil claim over damages resulting from the accident. The police officer's report is not always accepted as fact and you can present evidence as to why your version of the events is correct. You may want to contact a car accident attorney to determine if the costs of actually litigating the dispute are worth it.

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