If you were hurt in a car accident and the police report reveals that responding officers consider you at fault, you’re probably wondering whether you can still take legal action. The short answer? Yes.
Police reports are not always accurate. They are written by human beings, who are capable of making mistakes.
What’s more, police officers may not have all of the facts when they write their reports. For example, they may not have interviewed all the witnesses or obtained enough evidence to assign blame in the first place. Put another way, the contents of the official police report won’t impact your right to sue because the legal system recognizes that errors can occur.
What Should I Do If the Police Report Is Inaccurate?
If you believe the report that officers filed is inaccurate, there are few ways to proceed. It’s wise to seek legal counsel before getting started, however. Dealing with a report that names you as the liable party is going to add another layer of complexity to an already difficult situation.
Once your legal team has a thorough understanding of the situation, they will probably start their investigation by contacting the officer who wrote the report and requesting a copy of his or her notes. They will then cross-check these notes with other evidence from the scene, which might include eyewitness testimony, dash camera footage, and photos of the wreckage.
Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to get the report changed by presenting the kinds of proof listed above. Even if police refuse to acknowledge the inaccuracies, however, a resourceful personal injury attorney should still be able to help you put together a compelling claim.
Can the Opposing Party Use an Inaccurate Police Report as Evidence Against Me?
Generally speaking, police reports are not admissible as evidence when it comes to proving liability for a car accident. The contents of these documents are considered hearsay, which means they were written by someone who did not personally observe the accident. Since officers arrived after the incident occurred, the conclusions they reach are based on what other people tell them, and not what they witnessed firsthand.
More specifically, police reports are considered hearsay because they are:
- Unsworn statements,
- Made outside of a courtroom,
- Prepared by someone without direct knowledge of the incident, and
- Describing a statement or action of another person.
Call (562) 206-1939 to Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer in Long Beach
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
If you were hurt in a car accident and you want help navigating the subsequent proceedings, turn to the Law Office of Michael D. Waks. Our tenacious team has secured numerous six- and seven-figure settlements and verdicts for our valued clients. Call (562) 206-1939 or fill out our Online Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with a car accident attorney in Long Beach.
Download Our Car Crash Emergency Response .PDF
If you download our Car Crash Emergency Response .pdf and keep a copy in your glove box, you’ll always have a comprehensive checklist on hand that makes it easy to record the scene of the crash. Should you end up proceeding with a claim, this will make it much easier to build a compelling case. Download it HERE for free.