Matthew B. Troutman
What to do when the Police Officer Places wrong Information on Traffic Accident Report?
Over 32 years of experience handling thousands of auto accident claims, means I have seen thousands of police reports and sometimes the reports contain incorrect information and sometimes the investigating police officer places the wrong vehicle at fault. If you have been the victim of someone's negligence in an auto accident, including truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and pedestrian/bicyclists accidents, and the police report has incorrect information, you need to understand your options and they will be discussed below.
Perhaps, the most important thing to remember is that the police report is not the final say on any issue that may arise in an accident. Police reports, are frequently not even considered admissible evidence in a Court of Law and the police officer cannot testify on the fault issue. The most important role the police officer has in a case in litigation, is that he can testify to what the parties told him at the accident scene and, frequently, this information will resolve the liability issue (who is at fault). However, insurance companies and auto accident lawyers heavily rely on police reports to resolve claims prior to litigation and, for the most part, they do help resolve the fault issue among other issues that may exist in an accident.
Secondly, it is important to remember that the investigating officer is not really an investigator, who is trying to solve the issue of liability like he would in a criminal matter or like a police show on television. He is simply trying to fill out a report and gather the necessary information to complete that report so he can move onto his next assignment. This is why they are not motivated to change their report.
Lastly, only very rarely will a police officer ever change their report, so it is probably a waste of time attempting to contact him or her to ask them to change the report. Your best solution is to come up with factual proof on the issue you are concerned about and not worry about changing the police report.
If the information on the police report is of little consequence, such as the spelling of your name, the color of your car and etc., then simply forget about it. If the incorrect information is important to determining who is at fault or some other important issue, then be more concerned about obtaining witness testimony, photographs or some other factual proof that will resolve the issue rather than trying to change the report. The report is important, but real testimony and factual proof is more important.