When police respond to a car accident, the report they file is the first official record that the accident happened. If the police report contains major factual errors, it can prevent a deserving car accident victim from obtaining an appropriate insurance settlement. Police officers are human. They make mistakes in car accident reports all the time.
When a car accident lawyer at Sam & Ash, LLP, meets with a potential client, one of the first things we do is ask whether the accident victim has obtained a copy of the police report. We want to review the report with them. If we find that a car accident police report is incorrect, we can take steps to have it corrected.
You should obtain the police report as soon as you can after a car accident if you plan to file an insurance claim. If the report has an error, you should follow up on it promptly. In Las Vegas, if you have been injured in an accident caused by another motorist, contact Sam & Ash for assistance. We can discuss your legal options during a free initial consultation about your car accident.
Why Police Car Accident Reports Are Important
Most car insurance providers will want to review the police report as part of the investigation of a car accident claim. If the insurer questions or denies the claim, you’ll need evidence that supports your version of what happened in the car accident.
The police are the first-responders for most car accidents. The accident report documents the facts of the accident and who was involved.
The actual forms differ among local jurisdictions. In general, a police report allows the officer to record:
- Each driver’s name, address, and insurance information
- The name of the vehicle owners is different than the driver
- Date and time of the accident
- Location of the accident
- Weather conditions at the time of the accident
- Road conditions at the time of the accident
- Descriptions of damage to the vehicles involved
- Details about the accident, including a diagram of the accident scene and how vehicles collided
- Statements from drivers and others at the accident scene
- Names and addresses of witnesses
- Names and addresses of those injured, descriptions of injuries, and whether victims were transported for medical care
- Whether either driver caused or contributed to the collision
- Whether a ticket was issued or an arrest was made
Insurance adjusters give weight to the police report and police officer’s observations when evaluating a claim. Your attorney can use the police report to help convince the adjuster of the other driver’s fault, making it more likely that you’ll receive a favorable settlement.
If your claim leads to a personal injury lawsuit, the police report would not be admissible in court. But it would be the starting point for your attorney’s investigation of the car accident. If the case went to trial and the police officer testified, he or she would rely on the police report to remember what happened.
But if the report portrays the accident incorrectly or the officer wrongly states that you were at fault, it could keep you from recovering the insurance settlement. You should try to correct factual errors.
How To Correct a Police Report After Your Accident
If you find a factual error on a car accident report that could have an impact on your insurance claim, you should contact the police officer who wrote the report and ask the officer to correct it.
The officer can file a supplemental report correcting or clarifying their original accident report.
We can tell you that a request for a correction carries more weight if it comes from a respected local car accident attorney.
The request for a correction should be in writing and:
- State the error as it appears on the report and what information should replace the error
- Use a tone that is respectful and accommodating
- Provide documentation to correct a factual error. For example, if you are improperly identified, provide a photocopy of your driver’s license. If the report understates damage to your vehicle, provide photos and repair estimates
- Explain your disagreement with a subjective error. It will be more difficult to effectively change the officer’s mind, but you can write your own account of the event and request that it be submitted as evidence with the police report if the officer declines to amend the accident report
You should submit your request via email if you can obtain an email address for the officer who filed the accident report. Email leaves a digital trail instead of getting “lost.” An alternative is to meet with the officer in person and hand them your letter and evidence.
If the officer who responded to your accident refuses your request for a correction or does not reply, then contact the department and ask for that officer’s supervising sergeant. Submit your request to the sergeant.
You may also file an SR-1 report with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. Motorists must file this report if the police do not respond to a car accident that caused injury or $750 worth of property damage. You may file an SR-1 report to put your version of events on the record if you cannot get the police to change the local police report about your car accident.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers in Las Vegas, NV
Police at a car accident scene may get conflicting or even patently false information from those involved in an accident. They have to decide what to record as credible. They may draw incorrect conclusions from physical evidence because of a lack of training and experience.
As you deal with car accident injuries, you may find it difficult to straighten out inaccuracies in a police report. Contact a car accident lawyer at Sam & Ash, LLP. We are experienced with car accident cases in Las Vegas, Clark County, and surrounding Nevada and California communities, and have contacts in local police and sheriff’s departments.
We’re available 24 hours a day to set up a free initial consultation. There is never a legal fee unless we obtain money for you through a settlement or court award. You deserve What’s Right. Contact us today.