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While most conscientious law enforcement officers do their best to accurately and thoroughly fill out a police report at an accident scene, police are only human, and sometimes the report may include a mistake or missing information.  That’s why if you were involved in a car accident, you want to get a copy of the police report and review it for accuracy.  If you find a mistake or misstatement, you will want to get it corrected.

Insurance companies typically request a copy of a police report to assist in their investigation, and a mistake in the report can affect the outcome of your negotiations for an insurance settlement.

Common types of mistakes that could appear on police reports include:

  • The accident date, time or location is wrong.
  • Phone numbers of witnesses are incorrect or missing.
  • Damage to the vehicle(s) may be described inaccurately or vaguely.
  • List of injuries to victims may be incomplete.

If you have been in a vehicle crash and need help getting a police report or feel that a report is inaccurate, the car accident lawyers at Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana may be able to help.  We’ve represented hundreds of clients in car accident cases.  To find out more, call us for a free initial consultation at (251) 444-7000.

Here are some steps you can take

What if a police accident report is wrong?

If you feel a police report is wrong, you can contact the local police station and speak to an officer to discuss your concerns.  You may feel there are factual errors, or you may want to dispute statements given by the other driver or witnesses.  Here are tips that will help you when speaking to police:

Be courteous.  Assume that any mistake was made in good faith and politely discuss your point of view that an error was made.  A police officer will respond more favorably if you are polite and respectful.

Provide medical records.  If you believe the police report doesn’t adequately convey information about your injuries, you can provide police with medical records and test results to back up your claim.

Have supporting documentation.  If you object to a description of the vehicle, weather conditions or other data in the report, then make sure you have supporting documentation to back up your assertion.  This can include photographs, car title or registration, and National Weather Service information.

Take action quickly.  If the police report contains a mistake, don’t waste any time in contacting an officer.  The longer you delay, the more you hamper your chances of getting the report corrected.

Hire a car accident lawyer.  If you feel like you’re not making any progress in getting a police report corrected, then hiring a lawyer should be your next step.  Experienced and skilled car accident lawyers deal frequently with police records and know how to get things done.

Common causes of car accidents

The vast majority of car crashes are caused by driver error.  There were 33,244 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2019 in which 36,096 deaths occurred, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).  In Alabama that same year, 856 people died in vehicle crashes, IIHS reports.

U.S. car accident statistics include:

  • An average of 6 million car accidents happen every year.
  • More than 90 people die in car accidents each day.
  • About 3 million people are injured in car accidents annually.
  • About 2 million drivers each year experience permanent injury in car accidents.
  • 1 in 7 people do not wear a seatbelt while driving.
  • People not wearing seatbelts are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle in a crash.
  • There is an average of one alcohol-impaired driving fatality every 48 minutes.

The most common causes of car accidents include:

  • Distracted Driving
  • Speeding
  • Drunk Driving
  • Reckless Driving
  • Inclement Weather
  • Running Intersections
  • Unsafe Lane Changes
  • Wrong-Way Driving
  • Night Driving
  • Vehicle Defects.

It’s critically important to pay attention while driving to ensure the safety of you and your passengers.  If you are hit by another vehicle in a crash, the first thing to do is call 911 and seek medical attention right away.  Officers responding to the scene will file a crash-site police report.

Common injuries in car accidents

The powerful impact of a car crash causes severe jerking and unnatural movement for passengers in a vehicle.  A person can slam their head on a dashboard, get trapped against a steering wheel, be choked by a seat belt or cut by shattered glass or suffer a myriad of other types of trauma.

Common injuries caused by car accidents include:

If you file a lawsuit for damages resulting from the injuries you sustained in a car accident, you want to make sure the police report made at the accident scene is correct and includes all pertinent information.  If it doesn’t, it could hamper your ability to prove your legal case.

How long do I have in Alabama to file a personal injury claim?

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Alabama is two years from the date the injury occurred.  (Ala. Code. Sec. 6-2-38.)  The exception is if the injured person is a minor – in those cases, the two years doesn’t begin to run until he or she is 19 years old.  If you don’t file a claim within two years of the injury, then you have likely missed your window of opportunity and you are “time-barred” from recovering damages.  This is another reason to hire an attorney promptly after you’ve been hurt in a car accident.

Contact a skilled and experienced car accident lawyer today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation.  This is particularly true if the accident was due to someone else’s negligence.  If you are having difficulty getting a copy of the police accident report – or if you believe the police report is wrong – a Gulf Shores car accident attorney can help.  At Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana, we have helped hundreds of clients get the justice they deserve.  We are not afraid to aggressively litigate personal injury claims if needed, and that’s why we have many satisfied clients.  To find out more about how we can help, call us for a free consultation at (251) 444-7000.