How can I get a police report amended?

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Question:

How can I get a police report amended?

Answer:

Written police reports are often (but not always) prepared by a law enforcement officer who comes to the scene of a car accident. Depending on where the accident takes place, a police officer may or may not respond. In crashes involving serious injury and/or significant property damage, it's a safe bet that an officer will come to the scene, and that a police report will be generated.

The police report will contain different kinds of information about the accident -- about the vehicles involved, the drivers, passengers, how the crash happened -- as well as statements from witnesses and the people who were involved in the accident. In some cases, the officer may make his or her notes on who may have violated a traffic law, or which driver may have been at fault. (Learn more about using a police report to prove accident fault.)

But what if the police report includes incorrect or incomplete information? Can you have the report changed or amended? That depends on the kind of information you want to change or add.

Errors of fact. An error of fact is a mistake about objective information -- the officer preparing the police report transposes digits in a telephone number, for example, or confuses the make and model of a vehicle that was involved in the accident.

Usually, an error of fact can be corrected by simply producing proof of the correct information, typically through documentation. The police officer will follow department procedure in changing the report, which may include filing an addendum to the original report.

Disputed Facts. It's a different story with disputed facts -- meaning you don't agree with something contained in the report.

For instance, you disagree with the details of the accident as described by a witness or another driver -- whether the traffic signal was still green at the time the other driver entered the intersection, for example. It's very difficult to amend a police report in situations like this. But if the report appears to contain a particularly one-sided view of what happened, you may be able to to write up your own account of the accident, and ask that this evidence be attached to the police report.

Learn more about How to Amend a Police Report.

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