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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

How Do You Fix an Incorrect Police Accident Report in New York?

In the bustling streets of New York, car accidents are more frequent than most people think. Crashes can happen to anyone.


Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for the initial police report to have factual errors or inaccuracies. How can a car accident victim fix an incorrect police accident report in the heart of the Empire State?


What Is an Official Police Report?

What Is an Official Police Report?


A police officer is dispatched to a motorcycle or car accident scene to assess the situation and document the facts in an official police report.


This information becomes a crucial piece of evidence for insurance claims and potential legal action that may arise from the accident.


It's supposed to be a clear account of how the accident happened. Still, it's essential to remember that police officers are human. Such reports can have factual errors or reflect the police officer's opinion rather than facts.


These documents serve as a detailed record of the facts, observations, and actions the officer took during their involvement in a particular situation. Official police reports typically contain the following essential information:


Incident Details

The report begins with a description of the event, including the date, time, and location. This section outlines the essential who, what, when, where, and why of the case. It is vital to take notes after an accident or injury to ensure an accurate recall of the events.


Involved Parties

A police report identifies all parties involved in the car accident. This includes victims, witnesses, and suspects. It may include their names, addresses, contact information, and other relevant details.


Narrative

This section provides a detailed narrative of what the responding police officer observed and experienced at the scene. It includes descriptions of the events, statements made by those involved, and any evidence collected.


A car accident police report may also record other agencies or personnel involved in the accident, such as EMS or fire departments. In cases involving crime scenes, police reports may include diagrams or sketches. These show the layout of the event and the positions of the people and objects.


Is It Possible to Amend a Police Report in New York?


The ability to amend a police report mainly depends on the nature of the inaccuracies or omissions within the police report. It also involves the willingness of the law enforcement agency to make the necessary changes.


Victims who identify factual errors or critical omissions in the original police report can take the initiative to contact the police department that prepared the report.


1. Supplemental Report

They can request a supplemental report, which serves as an extra document to amend or update the original one with the necessary corrections.


2. Evidence Collection

To successfully amend a police report, victims should gather and provide evidence that supports the need for corrections.


This evidence can include photographs, witness statements, medical records, or any other documentation that demonstrates the inaccuracies in the initial accident report.


3. Cooperation

The likelihood of amending a police report depends on the cooperation of the police department. Some departments may be more accommodating than others in addressing these requests.


Victims should maintain open and respectful communication with the department to simplify the process.


4. Contacting a Law Firm

In cases where the police department is uncooperative, or the inaccuracies in the report significantly impact the victim's legal position, consulting with a personal injury lawyer is advisable.


An attorney experienced from a reputable law firm can navigate the complexities of amending an inaccurate police report and advocate for the necessary changes.


The Three Types of Police Reports in New York State


A police accident report, typically called Form MV-104(A) in New York State, records details of all motor vehicle crashes. It includes the usual information, such as date, time, location, passengers, witnesses, and addresses.


On the other hand, most people know of a driver's accident report as Form MV-104. Unlike MV-104(A), motorists typically complete this form and submit it to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).


Lastly, an aided report documents incidents of people with injuries but not from a car accident. Victims usually submit these reports to first responders, paramedics, or emergency medical personnel. The document includes details about the nature and extent of the injuries.


An aided report is a crucial tool in the healthcare system. It helps medical professionals understand the patient's condition and history.


The Difference Between a Corrected and Amended Police Report


These two terms are often used interchangeably in the legal system. The difference lies in the officer's changes in the initial report.


An amended report is a supplemental document with extra information. It also contains updates or corrections related to the original statement.


This provides a more comprehensive and accurate account of the incident. Amended reports also reflect new details or errors that need rectification.


On the other hand, a corrected police report involves making revisions or adjustments to the initial report. Revisions may include factual errors, typographical mistakes, or other inaccuracies. It does not add new information but aims to ensure the existing document is correct.


Common Errors in Police Reports


A police report is supposed to be an accurate and objective record of incidents. However, like any other human-written document, it can contain errors.


Understanding the types of mistakes in police reports is essential. It can impact legal proceedings, insurance claims, and the pursuit of justice.


Factual Errors

Such errors in a police report happen when the information does not align with the actual events or evidence. Factual errors can significantly impact the accuracy and reliability of a car accident report.

  • Incorrect Dates and Times

An officer may inadvertently record the wrong date or time of an incident, which can lead to confusion when reconstructing events.

  • Misspelled Names

Accurate identification of involved parties is crucial. Wrong names can lead to misidentification and delay investigations.

  • Inaccurate Descriptions

Errors in descriptions of people, vehicles, or other objects involved in the incident can compromise the report's trustworthiness.

  • Missing Details

Failing to include essential details or wrongly recording them can affect the overall version of the incident.

Addressing factual errors often involves contacting the police department and requesting a supplemental report to correct the inaccuracies.


This is vital for ensuring the official police report accurately reflects what happened in a personal injury case.


Subjective Errors

On the other hand, subjective errors relate to the personal opinions or biases of the reporting officer.

  • Opinions Stated as Facts

A responding officer may express personal opinions or beliefs as if they were factual. This can potentially influence how the court and jury perceive the car accident.

  • Biased Language

The use of biased or discriminatory language can taint the report's objectivity. It may also reflect the officer's prejudices.

  • Assumptions and Conclusions

Police officers may draw assumptions or conclusions unsupported by evidence, affecting the credibility of the actual police report.


Fixing or amending subjective errors in a car accident report is more challenging. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer is often necessary if a party believes a police report contains such mistakes. They can explain how witnesses can help your personal injury claim.


The Importance of a Police Report in a NY Car Accident


Whether it's a minor fender-bender or a more severe collision, the importance of a police report in the aftermath of a car accident is hard to overstate.


Fresh Evidence

Police officers respond to motor vehicle crashes almost immediately, collecting fresh visual and written evidence of the event.


A car accident report provides a neutral perspective on what happened, helping to establish a clear record of events. This impartiality is crucial in legal proceedings, lawsuits with an insurance company, and negotiations.


Also, memories can fade, and witnesses may be unavailable during the trial. In such events, having a police report can be a reliable source of information for future reference.


Establishing Liability

In any car accident, determining who is at fault is a fundamental aspect of resolving the matter. A police report includes the officer's assessment.


This information can be pivotal in determining which party's insurance company will cover the damages. On top of that, a solid motor vehicle report can expedite the claims process in a personal injury case.


State Laws

In some cases, it is a legal need to have a police report for certain types of accidents, especially if it involves personal injury. Failing to report an accident to the police officer can result in legal consequences, such as driver's license suspension and fines.


Why Do Police Reports Have Mistakes?


As mentioned above, police reports are not immune to mistakes. Personal beliefs and opinions can influence a police officer's testimony.


Police Officer Bias

Unconscious or intended biases related to race, ethnicity, or culture can impact an officer's judgment. Their values and experiences may result in a false police report.


On the other hand, a police officer may seek out information that confirms their initial impressions. This can potentially overlook or downplay contradictory evidence in the accident report.


Tampered Evidence

A police officer may misplace or lose visual or written statements collected at the scene. In rare instances, officials may alter or tamper with evidence, affecting the report's accuracy.


Incorrect Information

Typographical errors, incorrect data entry, or transcription mistakes can present inaccuracies in the police report.


Sometimes, the police officer may not have access to all the information they need during the report's preparation. This can lead to omissions or incorrect assumptions.


Consequences of a False Crash Report


Submitting a false crash report can have significant legal and practical consequences for the victims. Whether done intentionally to misrepresent an accident or due to an honest mistake, the repercussions of a false report are significant.

  • Damage to Credibility

An inaccurate report can damage the plaintiff's credibility. In legal proceedings, such as insurance claims or court cases, false statements can undermine a person's case and impact their chances of receiving fair compensation.

  • Impact on Professional Life

The legal and financial consequences of a wrong report can impact a person's career. It may affect job prospects, reputation, and personal relationships.


Negotiating with the Insurance Company in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Negotiating with the Insurance Company in a Personal Injury Lawsuit


Anyone involved in a personal injury lawsuit must negotiate with the insurance company for maximum compensation. However, it's easier said than done.

  • Understanding the Claims Process

Victims must start by gaining a clear understanding of the insurance claims process. This includes knowing the steps, filing deadlines, and specific requirements to ensure a smooth and efficient process.

  • Comprehensive Documentation

They must also collect and organize all relevant documentation about their injuries and losses. This includes medical records, bills, receipts, and other evidence that establishes the extent of their damages.

  • Consulting with Legal Counsel

Plaintiffs should seek legal counsel at the earliest opportunity. A skilled personal injury lawyer can provide invaluable guidance.


They can handle negotiations on the victim's behalf and ensure they do not settle for less than their case is worth. A qualified attorney can also help clients amend a police report with errors.

  • Responding to Counteroffers

It's common for the insurance company to respond with counteroffers, typically lower than the initial demand. Victims should be prepared for back-and-forth negotiations and remain persistent in pursuing fair compensation.


Final Words


Fixing an incorrect police accident report in New York is a process that demands attention to detail and persistence. Understanding the nature of the inaccuracies and quickly taking the necessary steps is crucial.


It's essential to remember police departments do not have a duty to correct or amend reports in New York State. In short, officers do not collect information for trial purposes.


Instead, officers submit such reports to the DMV for safety and statistical reasons. Thus, plaintiffs cannot force or argue with officers to change an accident scene report.


However, in some cases, personal injury lawsuits with ongoing negotiation and insurance claim disputes may have to rely on the official report for substantial evidence.


In this event, qualified personal injury lawyers can communicate with the investigating officer and request them to provide documentation. With the correct information, the lawyer can speed up the negotiation process and secure maximum compensation for their client(s).


Accurate and objective police reports play a pivotal role in upholding the principles of justice, accountability, and transparency in the legal system. Reputable law firms and their expert attorneys go above and beyond to help victims navigate the process.

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