Can You Appeal an Accident Report if You Disagree with the Police Officer’s Assessment?
March 1st, 2021|
Filing a successful personal injury claim after an auto accident requires, above all else, proof that you weren’t at fault for the crash and that someone or something else was. And when it comes to proof, it’s hard to argue with the official accident report that’s filled out by the responding police officer. There’s only one problem: these reports aren’t always 100% accurate concerning what happened or even who was at fault.
So, what happens if you believe you weren’t at fault for your crash, but the accident report says you were, whether fully or partially? Either of these assessments can jeopardize your chances of getting compensation, which makes it important to set the record straight. But how do you go about it—and is it even possible to change an official accident report after it’s been completed?
First, Get a Copy of the Report
Your first step should be determining what exactly is in your accident report. You may have a hunch that the report is inaccurate based on your interaction with the responding officer at the crash scene, but you won’t know for sure until you get a copy and review it.
The official Indiana state website allows people to request crash reports for a nominal fee. Follow the link here and input the requested information to locate your crash report and receive a copy.
Next, Determine What Errors Are in the Report
There are typically two types of errors in police reports, both of which can be disputed by drivers (with varying degrees of success):
- Factual errors—These errors relate to things that can be easily clarified and corrected. They could include facts such as vehicle make and model, date and location of the crash, number of vehicles involved, and more.
- Judgment calls and mischaracterizations—These errors are often considered to be more subjective and thus more difficult to disprove. They also may involve misquoting victims, at-fault parties, and witnesses, and correcting those quotes may be impossible, especially if they weren’t captured on tape. Examples may include assigning fault after a driver misspoke about what happened or a police officer simply misinterpreting what was said.
Then, Provide Documentation to Correct Any Errors
You can begin correcting errors on your accident report by contacting the police officer who filed it. Their information, including name and badge number, should be in the accident report itself. Clearing up factual errors is usually straightforward and involves simply providing accurate information for things such as your vehicle make or model, where the crash occurred (pictures of the crash scene can help with this), or the time of day the crash occurred.
However, changing judgment calls and mischaracterizations may be more difficult. This is where more hard evidence can come into play. Dashcam footage of the crash can help you prove exactly what happened, while requesting a review of bodycam footage if the responding officer was wearing one can help resolve disputes over statements from you, the other driver, and any witnesses.
Getting a Lawyer Can Help If You Have Issues with the Accident Report
It can be difficult to make major changes to an accident report, especially if those changes involve transferring blame from one party to another. But that’s a real dilemma that many innocent victims find themselves in, and it’s important that they’re able to have recourse in such situations.
At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, it’s our goal to help the truth come out in auto accident claims, regardless of what the police think happened. We collect evidence that shows what actually happened, and we don’t rely solely on quotes or snap judgments. Contact us today for a free consultation if you need compensation and you believe your accident report is incorrect or inaccurate, and we’ll work hard to ensure your rights are protected.