A police report is an important document that can make or break a property damage or personal injury case. It’s the main document that an insurance adjuster or personal injury attorney may request during the investigation process.
Unfortunately, mistakes happen, even on the part of police officers. When a police report contains inaccurate information, this can drastically reduce your settlement amount. Take these steps to fix harmful mistakes on your Houston accident police report.
What’s in a police accident report?
The report pinpoints the who, what, where, and when of the incident. In addition to these details, a police report includes:
- Witness statements
- Information about the date, time, location, and weather
- Driver statements
- Vehicle information
- Photos of the accident scene and damages to property and bodies
- Hand-drawn sketch or diagram to show a big picture of the accident
- Notes regarding injuries
- Names of car insurance companies or coverages
- Investigating officer’s statement
Texas Transportation Code §550.062 requires any law enforcement officer, who in the regular course of duty investigates a motor vehicle crash that results in injury to or the death of a person or damage to the property of any one person to the apparent extent of $1,000 or more, to submit a written report of that crash to TxDOT.
The good news is, the police report, also known as a crash report, must be generated and filed by the police within 10 days from the date of the accident.
Common mistakes on a police accident report
The two categories of mistakes that can be made on a police report are:
- Error in judgment: Includes overlooking evidence and omission of statements.
- Error of fact: Includes incorrect name spellings, wrong street names, or inaccurate vehicle information.
But no fear. With some work and swift movement, you’ll be on your way to a corrected police report in no time.
How to correct a police accident report in Texas
Correcting or disputing an error in a police report can be a difficult task when you go at it alone. But it doesn’t have to be. The experienced legal team at Johnson Garcia LLP is here to guide you every step of the way.
The first step you want to take is to order a copy of the police report the instant it’s available by making a public information request.
This is not a process you want to delay.
Next, review the report from top to bottom, and front to back for common mistakes mentioned above.
Then, you want to contact your local police department (this would be Houston Police Department for us).
Use these quick tips to fix your police report:
- Be polite when approaching the officer
- Offer records to prove the errors in the report
- Provide your own detailed statement
- Break out the dash cam recording
- Hire a personal injury lawyer
Fixing mistakes made by law enforcement can be made easy with the assistance of an experienced Houston injury lawyer.
Your injury lawyer will work to establish a good relationship with the investigating police officer on your behalf, which could result in a fixed accident report, a strong injury claim, and a fair settlement offer.
Fixing police accident reports can place you on the road to victory
The report connects all the dots of the incident, and an accurate police report is crucial to supporting your personal injury case.
Your attorney is aware that in most states, a police report is considered “hearsay testimony” and is not allowed to be considered as evidence in a personal injury case.
This is not how the law operates in Texas.
Texas Rules of Evidence 803(8) provides an exception for public records, such as police reports. Once a police report is admitted into evidence, the burden falls on the opposing party to prove that the document is false or not trustworthy.
A police accident report should be accurate because:
- The report will be used by the insurance adjuster.
- The report will be a part of the evidence in the personal injury lawsuit.
- The report is public record.
Let our experienced injury attorneys handle the police report for you
If you’re thinking of pursuing a personal injury case for harm done to yourself or a loved one resulting from an accident in Texas, contact the Houston injury attorneys at Johnson Garcia LLP for professional yet aggressive legal representation. We’ll fight hard to recover the compensation you may deserve as swiftly as possible.
While you focus on your physical recovery, our team will handle the insurance companies and police officers for you, including handling the police report. We’re so confident in our 30+ years of legal experience, you’ll pay nothing unless we win. Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation.