November 1, 2022 | Car Accidents, Personal Injury, Truck Accidents
Whenever there’s a car accident, a police report has to be filed. This report will be used as the official description of the scene. Although it may be official, that doesn’t mean it represents what really happened.
Unfortunately, accidents happen. Whether you are shaken up and forget to tell part of your story, the officer taking your statement writes down the wrong information by mistake, or the other party involved gives a false report, it is vital you clear up any inconsistencies when it comes to your automobile accident’s police report.
If you notice that there’s an error in how the report is filed, you have the right to address that error right away. In this article, you’ll learn more about police reports, how they work, and what you should do if the report doesn’t represent the reality of the accident.
If you have any doubts or uncertainties, contact a local personal injury attorney to discuss your options. Many times, a car accident attorney will have a team that can quickly get to the scene to document the accident before evidence has been cleared away.
Grounds for making one required to file a police report after an automobile accident varies by state. In Missouri, for instance, if the damages cost over $500 or if anyone involved in the accident is injured, you are required to contact the police to file a report.
Again, laws vary depending on the state in which the car accident takes place, but in many states, you have 30 days to file a police report after you are involved in a car accident.
You must file a Missouri Vehicle Accident Report (Form 1140). This is required if you were in an automobile accident in the State of Missouri.
If you have been involved in a car accident in the State of Missouri, the Missouri State Highway Patrol keeps a copy online for 29 days. You can use this tool to search for your report. Most of the time, you will need to receive an official report copy.
To receive an official copy of your car accident report, you can either contact the Sheriff’s office in the county where your accident took place. Alternatively, you can contact Missouri State Highway Patrol at (573) 526-6113 and they can provide details on receiving your report.
Related: How quickly do I need to file a car accident police report in Missouri?
To ensure that you have the best chance to claim full compensation, you have to make sure that all the information in the police report is as truthful as possible.
This is done to prevent the other party from making up scenarios and attacking you from an angle that doesn’t exist.
Factual errors refer to incorrect objective information, making them quite easy to change and fix.
There’s simple evidence such as the driver’s license to prove that it is, indeed, incorrect, and there’s very little reason why the law enforcement would want to get the objective information wrong intentionally.
Once the errors have been reported to the law enforcement officer with proper evidence, they may then write an addendum explaining the changes and attach it with the original report before filing both of the documents together.
Transcription errors are when the actual details of the case are incorrect, and they can happen in two forms: non-inclusion and inconsistent statements.
A non-inclusion is when a significant piece of information about the case is not mentioned in the report.
For example, if the other driver appeared to be swerving left and right as if they were under the influence of a substance, it has to be included in the report.
If the officer fails to do this, it can sway the case in a different direction. An inconsistent statement is when what you tell the officer and what is written in the report are not the same.
Before you sign your name on the report, please make sure that all the descriptions written about the incident are correct, as it can be difficult to change it later on, especially when the report has already been submitted to the court.
Disputed facts are among the trickiest types of factual errors, as they may require you to resolve the disputes first before the report can be changed.
For example, if the report states that you were speeding in a residential area, but you claim that you didn’t, it will be up to you to provide the evidence against what’s written in the report.
In most cases, chances are that it’s not likely to change, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take action if you truly believe that the police report is incorrect.
You can write your own report and bring light to the differences between the two reports, pointing out why the accident couldn’t have gone down as it was stated in the original report.
Related: Car accident settlement statistics in Missouri
The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that you must always remain respectful of the officer, as you wouldn’t want them to add a “contempt of cop” charge to your case.
People make mistakes, and the best course of action when you’re looking to address these mistakes is to be logical and reasonable.
If you want to let the officer know that the information is incorrect, you have to provide an explanation or evidence that will sway them in your direction.
If you can’t settle the police report in a way that you believe is correct, then it may be time to call your car or truck accident attorney and have them negotiate the report for you.
Police reports are crucial to your car accident case, as it will be used as a reference to how the accident went down, and if it works against you, you’re going to have a hard time in court.
That’s why it’s better to make the report represent reality as accurately as possible.
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