Police reports also have a space for an officer narrative, in which the responding officer can write their impressions of the cause of the crash and other details that may not have a particular “blank” on the accident report.
Unfortunately, even police officers make mistakes. In the chaos after a serious car accident, especially at night or when people are seriously injured, small mistakes may get entered into the police report. This can affect your potential car accident claim as both sides try to use information from the police report to build their case.
But don’t worry – there are ways to request changes and set the story straight. Keep reading for more from a St. Louis car accident lawyer.
What’s in a police report?
The police report is a crucial piece of evidence in a car crash. These official documents contain information that can help prove negligence on the part of another driver, among many other things. Information typically found in a police report includes:
- Names and addresses of drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- Weather and road conditions
- Date and time of the accident
- Diagram of the vehicles and notes of any damage to each one
Requesting changes to a police report after an accident
The best time to ask for changes to the police report is as it’s being written. However, you may not have an opportunity at the accident scene to look over all the details of the police report and may not notice until you obtain your copy a few days later.
If you notice an error in the report, your first point of action should be to contact the officer listed on the report and ask them to amend the report. You can’t just demand changes, though; you will need to provide evidence and solid reasons to get the officer to potentially amend the report.
The officer’s ability to make changes to the report depends on the type of change they’re asked to make. The most common are amendments to disputed or subjective information and corrections of factual mistakes.
Disputed or subjective information
This can include the officer’s estimation as to the cause of the accident or notes they made about the actions or behaviors of the parties involved after the crash (such as terms like “belligerent” or “combative,” which may indicate that one party was aggressive or out of line).
Facts that can be easily verified, like the spelling of your name or a correction about your car’s model or license plate number, can easily be rectified.
Ways to help your case
Gather supporting evidence at the accident scene
You stand a better chance of contesting disputed, subjective information if you have the evidence to refute it. For example, you can use your cell phone to record a video or conversations after the wreck, which may disprove the officer’s report of your behavior.
Or, if you have your photos of the wreck, such as those taken right after the crash but before cars are moved out of traffic, then you may be able to use those to dispute a diagram that was drawn (based on witness recollections) after the cars were moved out of the street.
Hire a St. Louis car accident lawyer
Your attorney may have better insight into what can and cannot be changed from a police accident report and advise you on the correct process for requesting a change in the police report. Your St. Louis car accident lawyer can also take a closer look at the reported information on the police report, using it to build a case against the other party.
Contact law enforcement for help
If you cannot get the responding officer to make a change to the report, you may have better luck with speaking to the sergeant of the department in whose jurisdiction the accident occurred.
You may be able to bring your evidence supporting the changes you’re requesting (such as a driver’s license with your name spelled correctly or dash cam footage of the position of your car after the wreck if you’re challenging the diagram) and ask for a change to the report.
Meet with a car accident lawyer in St. Louis today
Do you need legal advice after a car wreck? Contact Langdon & Emison today at (866) 931-2115 for a free consultation about your case.