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  • What to Do if the Police Report is Wrong after a Car Accident?

    What to Do if the Police Report is Wrong after a Car Accident?

We all know that car accidents can lead to trauma, stress, and time missed from work, regardless of whether you suffer an injury or property damage yourself. No matter how it happened, no one wants an inaccurate police report. Sadly, many police reports will miss important details or fail to cover potential reasons for an accident, including potholes and other persuasive factual or exculpatory information. These types of complicated errors can impact recovering money for damage and injuries when the innocent party files an insurance claim or government claim for compensation.

We often receive phone calls and emails from potential new clients complaining about errors and omissions contained in a report of a crime or traffic investigation when they’re involved in a car accident. They will complain that the officer who wrote the report failed to document damage to vehicles or left comments about a previous accident that had nothing to do with the record of their incident. For example, the wrong people may be listed as parties, and statements attributed to witnesses and victims may be about a different collision altogether. Sometimes car accident victims, including passengers and drivers, will complain that the original report failed to report injuries or even mislabel the wrong party as at fault.

Unfortunately, police reports are often sloppy after a car accident, and police officers, including the California Highway Patrol, often refuse to update important accident details in their official report, even when an updated witness statement is handed over to the police department later. Police departments tend to be overwhelmed and will rarely return to the accident scene or amend the report to update how the accident occurred. Because of this, the other driver’s insurance company may flatly reject your car accident case based on how the accident happened since the report is wrong.

If you find yourself in this situation, knowing what steps you can take to protect your rights is essential. This article will discuss what to do if the police report is wrong after a car accident and how to deal with the investigating officer. In the end, we will discuss how you can obtain a free consultation from our law firm, a personal injury attorney with extensive experience determining fault in a car accident.

Types of Police Report Mistakes You May Encounter

To begin with, law enforcement has no duty to protect individuals, let alone make a police report. When they come to the car accident scene and make a report, they have a duty to document car accident claims properly. If the officer concludes the other driver was at fault or some other detail, the correct information about the account must be included. For example, if the law enforcement officer saw the accident, they must add their personal knowledge. If it was someone else, the reporting officer must not provide incorrect information about the incident when they take down a witness statement, etc.

While some mistakes in car accident cases may appear small at first, the other driver’s insurance company could use any inconsistency against you to avoid paying bodily injury claims and those documenting vehicle damage. Most police report errors are written off as factual and subjective errors or scrivener’s errors, however. It is almost always an uphill battle if you need to fix an original statement or other missing information, even with a lawyer helping. Courts generally don’t get involved, as it is an administrative matter. Below, Los Angeles car accident lawyer, Michael Ehine, tells car accident victims the best course of action to take when an auto accident occurs, including how victims and potential clients or a loved one can demand a supplemental report following newly discovered information.

Factual Errors

A factual error is a fact or error in the facts such as mismeasuring skid marks or some other mistake in typical information like writing down the wrong driver’s license number, location address, or whether you went to the hospital in an ambulance, etc. Errors in a police report’s accident summary can generally be fixed easily unless they contain the correct information in the police officer’s eyes. If so, the officer will refuse to update important information, and liability will be harder to prove, thus delaying or ruining your California car accident lawsuit outcome.

Subjective Errors or Disputed Information

A subjective error is hard to remedy as it notes opinions or conclusions the officer formulated or events narrated by an alleged witness or witnesses. For example, a policeman may believe signs you violated a speeding law or were DUI based on another witness who did not even see you driving. Even if another witness who saw it all provides evidence it wasn’t you, the reporting officer may make the decision to agree with a less reliable witness.

The conflicting statement cannot be proven or disproven, yet the officer may give one more weight over the other, despite other evidence. This kind of information is not easy to change and must typically be argued in court by impeaching the officer or other witness. In other words, the insurance company may force you to file a lawsuit because the cop got lazy or decided to play judge and jury at the accident scene. In sum, subjective information about damage to the vehicles that can be proven false is easier to update. But subjective information about opinions and conclusions over how the damage happened has slim chances of being changed.

What if more than one person is at fault for the accident?

Many clients ask us: “how does a car wreck work when more than one person or thing is a cause?” The answer is that each party is liable for their comparative portion of the fault, even if it happens in two places simultaneously. Generally, the client is not at fault in any way and is just a victim. For example, a negligent motorist hits a telephone pole, and a second negligent driver accelerates to avoid falling phone poles, crashing into a pedestrian. In this case, they have both autoists may share a portion of the responsibilities. This means both auto insurers could be held potentially liable. These things need to be reflected in the police report, so the insurers can learn about the inate details. But how does one contact the officer if this information was not reflected from the start? There are ways to do it, but it will require the contents to be updated with help from a polite lawyer to help you compile the evidence and to get in touch with the desk sergeant or other administrator.

If Your Car Accident Report is Inaccurate, Ask for Changes As Soon As Possible

Before hiring a lawyer, you could check your report of your accident immediately to find any mistakes. You could immediately call the officer responsible for filing your crash report and ask that it be amended. They can assist in making the changes when they finish the report. Always speak politely with the officer since they may make these modifications with respect. Collect, attach, or download the photographs, reconstructed model, and other evidence of drug use, etc., to a memory stick or in an email to the officer. Or contact a lawyer to handle everything.

1: Contact Your Insurance Company

Your insurance company is the first place to turn to when you realize that the police report contains errors. It is crucial to contact them as soon as possible to inform them of the inaccuracies. Their concern is who will testify and to what. If a human being saw the incident, as opposed to a video that may get erased, note this and make sure they give a statement. In this way, you can avoid trial if someone hit you and is clearly at fault for causing the damage. Making sense so far?

Provide Documentation

In case of errors, the reporting officer may be able to rectify the error by submitting a copy of the corrected information, especially pictures, and videos. If your birth date was not correctly recorded, give an ID copy to the police officer if you disagree with what was originally provided or attached to the report as evidence. This little step can help your case by challenging the false narrative and proving up your injuries, as well as finding fault.

The insurance adjuster will likely ask you to provide them with a copy of the police report and any other relevant documents, such as witness statements or photographs. Now you can win when it comes to making determinations and resolving these questions once and for all!

2: Request A Car Accident Police Report Correction

Once you have notified your insurance company, you should request a correction to the police report. Contact the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident and explain the errors in the report. You may need to provide evidence to support your claims, such as witness statements or photographs. The police may be able to correct the report, but it may take some time to get the result you are seeking.

Make a New Statement

The police officer can write a new statement if the correction does not correct the errors. You must document the situation with photographs or video. If you have difficulty writing a statement regarding contested information, contact a qualified accident attorney today to discuss your difficult case.

If you have trouble getting the police to correct the report, or if you believe the errors in the report are significant enough to affect your compensation, you may want to consider getting legal assistance. An experienced car accident attorney can help you navigate the claims process and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. They can also help you gather evidence to support your case, such as medical records, witness statements, and photographs.

4: Be Prepared to Dispute The Police Report in Court

If you are unable to resolve the issue through negotiation with the insurance company or law enforcement agency, you may need to dispute the police report in court. Your attorney can help you prepare a case and argue your position in court. Be prepared to present evidence that contradicts the police report and explain why it is incorrect.

What Determines fault other than a police report?

Is it possible to determine fault other than an investigation by a detective or an attorney? This is an interesting question. It’s almost 80% accurate. Approximately 20% of all police investigations get it wrong. The police report often fails when injured people can’t say their own names as they are transported to ambulances if they have died. Sometimes police will take the person’s original version and include the person’s version in their police report to the police as in the incident.

Seeking an Insurance Settlement from the At-fault Driver

In California, it is common for drivers or their children to seek compensation if they are negligent in their own accidents. But insurers can’t accept settlements unless you can prove everything. Instead, the insurer is investigating and examining whether the policyholder is actually liable. Those who are involved with these investigations are likely to undergo a physical examination and interview with the parties involved in the road crash. Some insurance investigators may also consider factors such as:


A wrong car accident police report can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. However, there are steps you can take to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve. Contact your insurance company, request a police report correction, get legal assistance, and be prepared to dispute the report in court if necessary. By taking these steps with police report mistakes, you can ensure that an inaccurate police report does not unfairly impact you in your claim against the other drivers. Call us today for a free initial consultation at (213) 596-9642 to learn more.

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Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.