Robert C. Slim - blog - The police report was wrong

As a Dallas/Fort Worth car accident lawyer, I get many questions about what to do if the police report is wrong. A police report may be incorrect on many different issues such as the names of the drivers, location of the accident, who was driving and even the direction of travel for each vehicle. 

For the most part, police will not investigate an accident and prepare a report unless the accident results in serious personal injury or wrongful death.  But, what if the police do investigate your car accident and get something wrong in the report? 

 

If the police do come to the scene, they will first identify the drivers of the cars.  

When the police arrive at the scene, they will first separate the drivers and individually interviewed by the officers.  If there are any witnesses to the accident, they will also be interviewed by the officers.

Once the officer feels as though they have obtained all necessary information, they will give each driver a slip of paper which has the accident report number. For example, this document will contain information about how to obtain the police report for your accident. Then the officer will probably tell you that the report will be ready in about 7-10 days.  Many times, however, the report is ready even sooner.

What if the report is wrong?

You then wonder what, if anything, can you do to get the error corrected.  That all depends on the type of mistake that is in the report.

If it is merely a clerical error, such as a misspelled name or erroneous date of birth, you can probably rest assured that these types of errors can be easily explained and will not impact your case. Likewise, it would not be necessary to contact the officer to get a corrected report.

What if the police report has a more important error?

There is a procedure where the officer can make an amended or supplemental report. Unfortunately, it is not very easy to get a police officer to change a report. For instance, if your accident was at an intersection and the officer notes that you ran the red light, you are not going to convince the officer to amend the report just because you state that you had a green light.  

On the other hand, if the report listed you as driving the wrong car, then the officer can most likely be convinced to fix this error.

Clerical v. Factual Changes

In other words, the investigating officer is unlikely to amend a report merely because you disagree with the conclusion. You would have to show that the error is objectively obvious.  For instance, clerical errors are more likely to be corrected.  However, factual errors about how the accident happened may be more difficult to get changed.

Naturally, each party would want the police report to favor their version of the accident. But this would not be a sufficient reason for an officer to file a new report. You would have to show the officer that the error is more fundamental rather than a mere difference of opinion.

Consult for FREE with Robert C. Sim

Robert C. Slim is only licensed to practice in Texas. If your case occurred outside of Texas, you should consult with an attorney in that jurisdiction.

14 Comments

  • Posted January 17, 2019

    Christina

    I was cited for failure to yield right of way, turning. I had a left arrow that had just turned, and hit my front driver corner to his driver side front end.
    He claims his light was yellow. 1 witness stated she thought he had a yellow, witness informaiton is in the report.
    another witness pulled up to officer at cite and stated he did U turn in front of me and that my light was yellow.

    I have witness 2 cars behind me that states my light was green and i even waited at green to enter intersection. however officer wrote in report that witness wasn’t 100% positive it was green. witness has never varried story to 2 insurance companies. that he was 100% positive.

    Other driver claimed he was an uber driver with a passenger, and claime uber insurance to officer. It has been found that passenger was a friend and not uber customer and that driver has no insurance .

    My friend was in vehicle behind me and officer failed to put her as witness in report.

    My friend and witness 2 cars back are both going to court with me.

    Are my odds of it being dropped good?

    • Posted January 18, 2019

      Robert C. Slim

      There is a difference between fighting the citation and fighting the accident case. As for the ticket, you should consult a ticket attorney. Just make sure that, if you decide to take deferred adjudication, DO NOT plead guilty. Only plead NO CONTEST. As for the accident case, if you were injured and have an attorney, make sure your attorney has all the witness information. If you were not injured, then make sure the adjuster for YOUR insurance company has all the witness information so that they can defend you against the other driver/passenger’s claim if need be.

  • Posted December 19, 2018

    Kyle

    I was involved in a collision where a young woman failed to yield right of way while turning left from a T intersection in front of me and I struck the side of her vehicle. The officer wrote contributing factor as her failing to yield right of way. She has a “possible contributing factor” of inattentive driver, I have a “possible contributing factor” of speeding based on an 18yo girl’s claim. Unbeknownst to us there was video of this and I have proof that the other driver applied the brakes as she noticed me before even making it into the opposite lane.

    What’s the probability of submitting this evidence showing she failed to perform an evasive maneuver and having them add it to contributing factors as it is clear as day her brake lights were on as my vehicle was skidding towards her in an attempt to perform an emergency stop on a winding 2 lane road?

    • Posted December 19, 2018

      Robert C. Slim

      In all my years as a car wreck lawyer in Dallas, I have never seen a police report changed in that way. However, don’t emphasize the importance of the police report, The video is far more important than the police report. Also, eye-witnesses may be critical.

  • Posted November 19, 2018

    Kimberly

    My police report says that I failed to yield to the uncoming traffic and that I had a tri phase light. Thats is completly wrong. I had a GREEN ARROW to turn and when it turnes green I went and a car coming in the opposite direction hit me. Can you advise me on what to do.

    • Posted November 19, 2018

      Robert C. Slim

      I doubt you will get the officer to change to the report. If there were any witnesses, then you can get the story from them. The witnesses mean more than the police report anyway. Also, try to get a copy of the 9-1-1 call report. Sometimes, it will show the name and phone number of the person who called 9-1-1. That person may have also witnessed the accident.

  • Posted September 20, 2018

    melissa

    my daughter was involved in an accident where the other driver hit her passenger side and stated that my daughter ran a red light . however my daughter states that this is not the case but the police report indicates that she hit the other driver and she was given a ticket. there is no front end damage to her car and her passenger had to be taken to the hospital for a fractured shoulder. Her car is totalled becuase of the massive damage to the passenger side with no damage to the front clearly indicating that she was the one hit. The diagram in the police report even shows that she hit the other cars drivers side with her front end, when in reality it was his front end that was hit. Is there anything that we can do to fight this. clearly we have plead not guilty and are arranging to go to court for the red light ticket, but will they amend the police report so that the insurance company will pay for the car?

    • Posted September 20, 2018

      Robert C. Slim

      It depends. It is possible that the officer got the vehicles mixed up. If so, then he may change the report. You might want to contact the officer and see if that was the case. Are there any eye-witnesses to the accident? If so, you might want to contact them and see what they have to say.

  • Posted July 31, 2018

    Monia

    What if the police report has the wrong location and description of where accident occurred? Such as if it happened at one intersection, but it actually occured a block away?

    • Posted July 31, 2018

      Robert C. Slim

      You might be able to get police officer to correct the police report, especially if the other driver confirms the error. However, you might not get a statement from the other driver to that effect because the insurance company probably already instructed him not to talk to you. Nevertheless, it probably doesn’t matter. So long as the police report is correct about the mechanics of the accident, the location shouldn’t really matter.

  • Posted July 21, 2018

    Jen

    I was involved in a rear end accident where I was rear ended. the driver of the other car stated in from of me and my 2 daughters as well as in front of the officer that she slammed into the back of me beacause her shoe was wet and slipped off the petal (it was raining outside). however, the police accident report does not reflect what she admitted to and stated to the officer. instead it states “driver was slowing to stop for traffic ahead but was impeded by heavy rainstorm and slippery pavement. that is not at all what happened.

    • Posted July 21, 2018

      Robert C. Slim

      You’re probably not going to get the police officer to make any changes to the substantive description of the accident. But, based on what you are describing, it really should not make a difference as long as the police officer put fault on the other driver.

  • Posted November 17, 2017

    Carolynn

    I have an accident report with the wrong name as the owner/insured from an non-injury but damage report. Do I need to get the report changed? The person that hit my vehicle has no insurance. Thank you

    • Posted November 18, 2017

      Robert C. Slim

      As long as it is not an issue with your insurance company, I wouldn’t worry about it. But if you plan on pursuing the other driver yourself, I would try to get the report changed.

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