What can I do if the police officer that made my car accident report was incorrect about fault?

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Question:

What can I do if the police officer that made my car accident report was incorrect about fault?

Answer:

It's a fact of life when it comes to the insurance settlement process: When a police report has been generated after a car accident, adjusters for the drivers involved will give a fair amount of weight to what's found in the report. This is true even though the police report itself wouldn't be admissible as evidence if the car accident case proceeded to court. (More on how police reports are used to show fault).  

Usually, a police report will contain a wide range of information, from fairly innocuous facts (make and model of the vehicles involved) to potentially damaging conclusions noted by the reporting officer (Driver A violated the traffic code.)

Obviously, a police officer who comes to an accident scene after the fact did not actually witness the accident him/herself. But oftentimes, after studying the scene (position of the vehicles, skid marks, debris) and talking to everyone involved (drivers, passengers, pedestrians, witnesses), the officer will reach some sort of conclusion as to how the accident happened, and who was likely at fault.

But what can you do if you disagree with the officer’s findings of fault, as contained in the police report? Unfortunately, the answer is probably “Not much.” That’s because you’re essentially arguing about the officer’s opinion, not an objective fact. So, getting the report changed is not really an option.

But you may be able to write up your own version of how the accident happened, and ask that it be included in or added to the official report as an addendum. Whether to include your version of events is a decision that will be up to the officer who prepared the report (or his or her supervisor). Learn more about amending a police report.       

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