Cops are people too, which means that sometimes they can make mistakes. It also means they live busy lives. If you’ve been involved in a car accident where only minor damage occurred, it’s unlikely that the police will even show up.
Most local police stations simply don’t have the resources to tend to every fender-bender crash. But while there may not be a police report for an accident, you still have to report it to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. You’re required to complete and submit a Traffic Collision Report within 15 days of an auto accident if the accident was not investigated by law enforcement.
If you were involved in an accident where severe injury, death, or major damage occurred, it’s more likely that the police will show up at the scene of the accident. When they respond, they’ll begin writing an official police report of the accident or incident.
Many drivers don’t realize the significance that police reports carry, especially regarding legal cases. While they’re often used to prove fault and help victims receive the compensation they deserve, there are times when a police accident report is wrong.
A simple mistake in a police report on an accident can drastically change the case’s outcome, and you’ll need expert car accident lawyers to help you win. Here, our experienced car accidents attorneys look at erroneous police reports and what you can do.
What Details Are Recorded in a Police Report?
Police reports are summaries of the events that took place at the scene of an accident or incident. They typically include contact information of the people involved in a crash, including full names, home, and work addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, driver’s license numbers, and auto insurance details.
If there are witnesses available, their information may also be collected and included in the report. Passengers may be interviewed too, and their statements may be written down. A police report might also contain details on how an accident occurred, the location of the crash, the date, what time it happened, and any other relevant information.
In some reports, the police may state who they think was at fault for the accident, along with the vehicle code that the at-fault driver violated. Unfortunately, not all police reports include this information. Sometimes the officer will blame poor weather conditions, mechanical failure, or road conditions as the cause. In these circumstances, the police accident report is wrong and could substantially impact your case because it fails to determine that the other driver was at fault.
The police may take their time in writing up a report to determine which driver was responsible. In this case, they’ll make a determination once they’ve reviewed their notes, gathered information, and collected witness statements. This process typically takes about a week from the date of an accident but varies from case to case. It’s worth noting that police reports have an assigned number and that you’re able to request it, so you can keep track of your report and obtain a copy of it later. Your car accidents attorneys can also get the number and report for you.
What to Do When a Police Accident Report Is Wrong
While it’s not exactly the easiest task to get a police report changed, it is possible. Here are some tips on how to get the mistakes fixed:
- Be polite – You’ll have an easier time working with the police to get your report fixed if you maintain a kind and positive attitude. It’s also a good idea to try and speak directly with the officer who wrote your report before moving up the chain of command and speaking with their supervisor.
- Provide evidence of documentation – If you can prove that an officer made a mistake, it’s more likely they’ll correct it. For example, the officer took down the wrong make and year of your vehicle, and you can provide a copy of your vehicle registration as evidence of the mistake.
- Act ASAP – Time isn’t on your side when trying to correct a mistake on a police report. You want to get a corrected report as soon as possible — so immediately contact the officer if you find a mistake.
- Provide medical records – If the statement you initially gave to the officer was unclear because you were in shock, pain, or on medication at the time of the accident, obtain and provide medical records showing proof of this.
- Give a detailed statement – It’s best to add your own version of events and attach it to the report. Try to be as detailed and specific as possible. If you have photographs or other documentation of the accidents or injuries, include them.
- Retain car accidents attorneys – Factual errors are relatively easy to correct, but you may need the help of experienced car accidents attorneys to correct mistakes in an officer’s judgment. Having an attorney call the police on your behalf will be more effective and can provide a stronger statement.
When a police accident report is wrong, you may be unsure of what to do. These reports can seem intimidating, and it’s normal for the average person to feel overwhelmed or confused by the information within them. A car accident lawyer can help you navigate through a report and get your report fixed if there are mistakes. Good car accident lawyers can also help ensure you get the compensation you deserve for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more.
If you suspect you have an erroneous police accident report and don’t know how to get it corrected so you can file a claim, contact the expert car accident lawyers at Clardy Law Firm now and get the advice you need to proceed.