Calling the police is the first and most important step if you’ve been involved in a car accident. You can either call your local police station or dial 911 if anyone is seriously injured. Either way, the responding officer will write up an accident report, which you will need in order to file an insurance claim. It’s essential that all the details in the report are correct, but accident scenes are highly charged situations. The atmosphere is chaotic for everyone involved, and it’s easy for any of the involved parties to give inaccurate or false information. Responding officers can also make mistakes, as they’re in charge of collecting insurance information, eyewitness statements, photos of the accident scene, and much more.
Regardless of why the mistake happened, it’s essential that every detail in your police report is correct. After all, your traffic accident report is the first thing an insurance adjuster will look at in order to determine who is responsible for the accident. This will affect the amount of compensation you’re entitled to for your bodily injuries and property damage. But many victims are unaware of how to change a traffic accident report once it’s been finalized by a law enforcement agency. And even those who figure out the procedures have a tough time getting through to the responding officer and convincing them that a change is necessary. You may be in this situation right now and asking yourself:
- What can I do if the accident report is incorrect?
- What steps do I take if the witness testimony is not in the report?
- What are my rights if there is no insurance information of the other driver?
- Can a lawyer help me change a police report that’s incorrect?
Today, we will talk about the process of revising a police report if it contains incorrect or false information. However, there may be complex issues in your own accident that are not be covered in this article. If you need specific advice on your rights and legal options, please contact our office and talk to one of our attorneys.
Information Included in a Police Report
When you receive your police report, there is a lot of information you’ll need to review. It’s imperative that everything is correct and accurate. Any mistakes or false information can cause your claim to be rejected, or result in a compensation award that’s inadequate for your injuries. To ensure that you receive the full value of your damages, please check over the following information as soon as you receive your police report:
- Your name and the other driver’s name.
- Insurance information for you and the other driver
- List of damages to both of your vehicles
- Injuries sustained by all the involved parties
- Eyewitness statements
- Weather and road conditions
- Legal violations that caused the accident
- Accident scene photos or diagrams
- The officer’s assessment of who is liable for the accident (if applicable)
A police report takes at least several days to finalize, but you should be given a copy of the initial draft by the responding officer. You should check the document at the scene of the accident so that you can ask for changes right then and there. But that may not be possible if you or your passenger was transported to the hospital for serious injuries. Even with minor injuries, car accidents can be very traumatic for the victims, who often leave the accident scene as soon as possible. Fortunately, you can still fix incorrect or false information in your police report after the accident. We will go over the steps you’ll need to take, but for now, let’s talk about the timeline for how long it takes to finalize an accident report.
How Soon can I get a Copy of my Accident Report?
The waiting period for a traffic accident report depends on the responsible agency. An LAPD report, for example, takes about 5 business days. A CHP (California Highway Patrol) report, on the other hand, can take up to 2 weeks, though accident reports involving fatalities may take several months. Many police departments, including the LAPD, will send you a free copy of your police report through email. If you don’t receive your report within 5 business days, you’ll need to call your local police station to check on the status.
In theory, the process for obtaining a traffic accident report is easy. In reality, victims are likely to be ignored or given vague answers as to when the report will be ready. If you’re frustrated over the lack of progress with your police report, contact Normandie Law Firm right away. Our lawyers will help you get a copy of your report and make sure that your insurance claim is filed in a timely manner.
How to Change a Traffic Accident Report if it has False Information
As stated above, it’s best to check the initial draft of the police report while you’re at the accident scene. But you may still be able verify the details of an accident report while it’s in the filing process. As an example, officers with the Los Angeles Police Department give both drivers a temporary report number, which they can use to review their accident information on the LAPD website. This allows accident victims to correct the responding officer on any of the details before the report is finalized.
As you look over your report, please keep an eye out for the following errors:
- Wrong name or birth date
- Incorrect license plate number
- Wrong make and model of any of the involved cars
- False or incorrect insurance information
- Wrong details or false information in witness statements
- Errors in your own statement (for ex, the officer quoted you as saying 40 mph when you said 30).
So what can you do if you’re unable to check the report before it’s finalized? Or, maybe you asked for a correction but the mistake is still there. At this point, you’ll have to get in touch with the officer who filed your report and let them know about the error. However, an officer is unlikely to make changes to an official report without compelling evidence. This is where a lot of people get stuck, as they are unable to file an injury claim without an accurate police report. Thankfully, there is a solution if you find yourself in this situation.
Can a Lawyer Help me Alter a False Accident Report?
Yes, if you need to have something changed on your traffic accident report, you can ask an experienced car accident attorney for help. Primarily, your attorney can find evidence to show why your report needs to be changed. Evidence may include:
- Video footage of your accident.
- New witnesses who were not included in the original report.
- A detailed timeline of the accident to support your claim.
Our lawyers have been handling car accident claims for many years, so we know the type of proof that law enforcement agencies are looking for. We also have methods for getting through to the right person and ensuring that the needed changes are made on your report. If you’re struggling to make progress with a faulty accident report, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Filing a Complaint against the Responding Officer
Is the responding officer ignoring your request, or refusing to alter your report even when you have proof? In that case, you can file a complaint against the officer by contacting their sergeant or some other supervising officer. However, we highly recommend speaking with an attorney before you take this step. A skilled car accident lawyer should be able to make the necessary changes on your behalf, and if there are no other issues, it may be best to avoid filing a complaint. But if there is good reason to proceed with a complaint, your attorney can file the needed paperwork and include evidence to support your accusations.
Before you file a complaint with a California law enforcement agency, please give us a call at our office. One of our lawyers will be happy to advise you on the complaint process, as well as other legal options that may be available to you. The important thing is to take action right away and prevent any issues that can hold up your injury claim.
Help – My Lawyer won’t Help me Get my Police Report Changed!
Unfortunately, some lawyers won’t follow through on their legal obligations to a client, which includes fighting any incorrect or false information on their police report. This shouldn’t be the case, but we’ve met enough accident victims during consultations who ask, “Can a lawyer help me amend an accident report?”
Yes, a lawyer can fight to alter a false accident report, and should do so immediately to avoid delays in your injury claim. If you’re like most people, you may be wondering why some lawyers refuse to help their client with mistakes in their police report. One possibility is the lawyer’s lack of experience, which can lead to insecurity and reluctance to challenge a law enforcement agency. Another possibility is that your lawyer is too busy or disorganized to focus on your case. Some law firms see injury cases as a numbers game and take on far too many cases. Lawyers at these firms tend to prioritize clients by case value, or by whichever ones are easiest to settle. So if your case has complex issues like needing to change a police report, you may be placed at the bottom of the list.
At Normandie, all clients are treated equally regardless of their case value. When we accept a client, we’re prepared to fight for their rights, no matter how long it takes. If we sound like a law firm you want to work with, please schedule a free second opinion with one of our attorneys. Even if you’ve filed an injury claim or lawsuit, you can change lawyers at any point in California. But it’s a big decision, and you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons before making the switch. During a second opinion consultation, our lawyers will review your case and advise you on the actions we can take. If you like what you hear and decide to hire one of our attorneys, we’ll take care of the entire transfer process at no cost to you.
Ultimately, the decision to stay with your lawyer or find someone else is up to you. But changing counsel becomes more challenging the further you are in your case. So please give us a call and schedule your free second opinion.
Speak to a Car Accident Injury Lawyer
An injury claim or lawsuit allows car accident victims to recover their economic and emotional losses. But insurance companies require evidence, including a police report with important details of the accident. It’s a police officer’s duty to make sure the details are accurate, but mistakes can happen even under the best circumstances. For many victims in need of compensation, asking for a change in their accident report is easier said than done.
If you’re encountering resistance and need help changing an incorrect or false police report, please contact the lawyers of Normandie. Our lawyers have many years of dealing with California law enforcement agencies for all kinds of matters. We will fight aggressively to make the needed changes to your report and assist you with anything else related to your injury claim. Best of all, we’ll do all this for free as a promise under our Zero fee guarantee. We only get paid for our services if we win your case. And if we fail to recover your damages, you owe us nothing and we eat the costs.
There is no risk to you by giving us call, so please schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We can help you with legal issues involving any California law enforcement agency, including:
- Los Angeles Police Department
- San Diego Police Department
- Long Beach Police Department
- San Francisco Police Department
- San Jose Police Department
- Oakland Police Department
- Stockton Police Department
- Fresno Police Department
- Bakersfield Police Department
- Sacramento Police Department
- Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
- San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
- Orange County Sheriff’s Department/Coroner
- Alameda County Sheriff’s Department/Coroner
- San Diego County Sheriff’s Department
- San Francisco County Sheriff’s Department
- Riverside County Sheriff’s Department
- Kern County Sheriff’s Department
- Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department
- Ventura County Sheriff’s Department
- California Highway Patrol
- California Bureau of Investigations
- California Department of Justice
- California Bureau of Forensics