Occasionally we get a client who lets us know that the police traffic collision report for their motor vehicle accident is wrong. Police officers do the best they can when investigating claims, but they do sometimes make mistakes. Most commonly the mistake involves leaving out from the report passengers of one or more of the involved vehicles or failing to document the identities and statements of witnesses. Even though police reports themselves are generally inadmissible in court, such mistakes can complicate your case if not dealt with promptly.
When we have a client whose police report is wrong in some way, we contact the investigating officer immediately. Usually, if the officer simply missed a passenger or witness, we can have the report amended to add the missing information. Sometimes the officer will want to speak to the passenger or witness before changing the report, and we work to facilitate that meeting.
Sometimes the officer won’t be willing to change the report. It’s important to remember that the officer is almost never an actual witness to the collision. Instead, they are just writing down what other people tell them about the accident. Even in cases where the officer won’t change the report, often having a timely letter added to the police file explaining the error and requesting a change will help you prove your case later if the facts are disputed.
Anyone who has been involved in a motor vehicle accident can contact the investigating officer to discuss the collision report, including any errors it might contain, but we find our clients prefer our office to take care of these details. This frees our clients to focus their attention where it should be: on healing their bodies and getting their lives back to normal.