What is included in an accident report?
When you have been involved in a serious accident, a police officer will come to the scene of the accident and take notes to prepare a report. The accident report will usually include basic contact information of the parties, including drivers and passengers, involved in the accident such as names, address, phone number, date of birth, driver's license number, insurance company information, and insurance policy number. It may also include contact information about any witnesses to the accident and the date, location, and time of the accident. The accident report may also have a narrative written by the officer stating what happened and any citations received by any parties.
You will receive a report number but the reports are usually not ready until 3-5 days later. This is because the officer will go back to his office and write the report from the notes he's taken. When you receive a copy of the accident report after days have passed, the information or the narrative may not be exactly what happened. What do you do then?
But this isn't what happened! What now?
It is important to obtain a copy of your accident report and review it as early as it is available. If you see an error, you can contact the police department and ask to have the officer amend the report. Now that may sound simple but the officer will not always take your word for it so you'll have to have provide proof of the correction.
Types of errors:
1) Factual error: These are errors such as misspelling of names or the type of car you were driving. These are easy to fix as long as you provide proof.
2) Judgment error: These are errors that you believe were made by the officer as to his judgment of how the accident occurred. These are more difficult to fix if the officer does not believe your version of how the accident occurred.
3) Omissions: These are information that you believe should have been included in the report.
4) Misstatements: Any statements you gave to the officer at the scene of the accident but you believe you misspoke because you were disoriented or confused.
Depending on the type of error, it may be difficult to have the officer amend the report.
How does the accident report affect my personal injury case?
Most insurance companies will do their own investigation even given the accident report. However, most will rely heavily on the accident report. Thus, if the accident report include errors that you were not able to amend, it is crucial to retain an experienced car accident lawyer to help you to make sure that the accident report will be helpful to your case, rather than distract from your case and your personal injury.
We Can Help!
It is routine for Hong & Sessions Law Firm, LLC to obtain the accident report on your behalf as soon as we are retained. The experienced lawyers at our firm will help you navigate through the accident report and make sure that you recover from your serious injuries from the at-fault party. If you or your loved one has been injured in a car accident, please contact us immediately at 678-691-3305.