What is a Police or Accident Report?
If you have been in an automobile accident before, you may be familiar with a police report. A police or accident report is an account of the accident conducted by the officer who arrives on the scene. The report contains vital information including details about the accident, potential causes, proof if either or both parties were under the influence, witness statement information, statements from each party and their passengers, contact information for each party, and opinions from the officer.
Even though police reports are not permitted as evidence in civil cases for personal injury claims in the state of Florida, they are still crucial for settlement discussions with insurance carriers and negotiations with the opposing side.
What if there is a Mistake in the Report?
Police officers are human, and they make mistakes. Typos or small errors such as the wrong make of car can be easily corrected. However, mistakenly omitted words such as “not” next to “driving under the influence” can transform the outcome of a case. Convincing an officer or police department to correct that type of information will be much more difficult unless the officer recognizes his or her error.
How Can You Help Prevent Mistakes in the Police Report?
In addition to reviewing the police report at the scene and alerting the officer to any inconsistencies, you can help your case by documenting evidence from the scene that may be crucial in correcting the police report. You can take pictures and write notes about what happened, the vehicles involved, the location of each vehicle, damage to vehicles and anything else, road conditions, weather conditions, witness statements and contact information.
How do You “Change” a Mistake in the Report?
Any changes to the report must be made directly by the police officer or the department. Each individual police department or law enforcement agency follows their own policies regarding making changes to police reports. Obviously, you should avoid writing on or altering the report. But here is what you should do:
If you were in an accident, obtain medical attention first and then request a copy of the police or accident report from the police officer.
- If possible, review the report at the scene and request that the police officer update any part of the report that is incorrect.
- If you are unable to review the report at the scene but find that there are incorrect items that need to be corrected, contact the officer directly as soon as possible.
- If you were unable to obtain a copy of the police or accident report at the scene, contact the law enforcement agency and request one.
You can expect the officer or law enforcement agency to correct minor details quickly. However, if the police department refuses to change the police report and you believe you have a personal injury case, you should contact an experienced attorney to help you navigate the legal process. Please call 954-913-2273 for a free consultation.
Cutler Rader, P.L.
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We offer our clients the compassion and guidance they need as they work through trying times in their lives. The balance of working relentlessly for our clients combined with our caring approach has helped us achieve a fantastic record of success with our clients. We get our clients the justice they deserve.
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