Is it Possible to Dispute a Police Accident Report in Maryland?April 4, 2023
Police reports often provide valuable information that can help prove which motorist was responsible for causing an accident. However, there are instances where the police officer who arrived at the scene may have included incorrect information on the report.
If you are involved in a car accident and you proceed with filing a personal injury claim, it can make the process more complicated if it is insinuated you are to blame. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to dispute the police report if the information is incorrect.
What Are Examples of Common Errors in Police Reports?
While police reports cannot be used as evidence, they can be a very useful piece of information in a car accident claim. When mistakes are made, the police report may affect the outcome of your claim, so it is important the information is accurate. The following are examples of common mistakes that are made in police reports:
- Grammar, spelling, and punctuation: These mistakes may not necessarily impact your claim, but if the information is difficult to read or understand due to these types of errors, it can delay the process if information needs to be clarified.
- Leaving out important details. If the police officer provides a detailed description of the location of the accident, the damage to the vehicles, and the injuries involved, but fails to report information about who was responsible for causing the accident, this is critical information that should be included in the report.
- The police report is too vague. A police report should include as many details of the incident as possible. When the report includes vague comments, it does not provide a comprehensive description of the driver’s behavior.
- Factual mistakes: This includes incorrect license plate numbers, names, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, and any other important information that is needed for the case.
What Are the Benefits of Disputing a Police Report?
When a police officer arrives at the scene of a car accident, the officer will take a statement from you and the other motorist and fill out a police report. This report is particularly important, as it can help strengthen your case.
However, the scene of a car accident can be stressful and hectic, particularly when there are serious injuries involved. It is not uncommon for a police officer to include incorrect information in the police report if the accident scene is extremely chaotic with ambulances and other first responders coming and going. If any of the information in the report is incorrect, it is in your best interest to dispute the report. While police reports are not considered evidence in a Maryland lawsuit, they do provide important details about the accident.
What Are the Steps Involved in Disputing a Police Report?
There are several steps you can take if you wish to dispute inaccurate information that was included in a police report, including the following:
- Review the police report at the accident scene. This may not always be an option, but if you are able to review the police report before the officer leaves the scene, you will have the opportunity to correct any mistakes. If important information is missing, you can make sure that it is included. When interacting with the police officer, always be courteous and respectful. If you become aggressive or rude, the officer is less likely to listen to you and make changes to the report.
- Contact the police officer. In some cases, the mistake in the police report was a simple oversight, and the police officer may correct the information so that the police report is accurate and reflects what actually happened.
- File your own report. In Maryland, car accident victims may file their own report with the appropriate police department if they realize there are mistakes on the accident report. Depending on the police department that you are dealing with, you may be able to report an incident online. However, some departments require victims to report the accident in person.
- Seek medical attention. This is an extremely important step if you suffered any injuries. If you do not seek medical attention after an accident, the other driver’s legal team will use this against you and argue that your injuries must not be very serious if you did find it necessary to be examined by a medical professional after the accident.
- Collect video surveillance footage. If the accident occurred at a location where there are security cameras in the vicinity, you can obtain a copy of the footage from the accident. Oftentimes, cameras are set up at major interactions, local businesses, and even private residences. Footage from a security camera can provide valuable evidence that will help prove that the negligent driver caused the accident. In addition, the footage can be used to clarify or correct information in the police report that is inaccurate.
- Speak to witnesses who were at the accident scene. This is another step you can take to collect important evidence and clarify information included in a police report. If there were witnesses who saw the accident happen and can provide a statement about who was at fault, make sure that you ask the witnesses what they saw and if they would be willing to provide a statement. If you are disputing a police report and a witness can corroborate your statement, this will help support your claim.
It is recommended that you hire an experienced car accident lawyer if you were injured in a car accident. Maryland is an at-fault state, so the at-fault driver will look for any reason to avoid paying you the financial compensation you deserve. A skilled car accident lawyer will anticipate these tactics and protect your legal rights.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Can Help You After a Collision
If you were involved in a car accident, contact our Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, Lanham, and Owings Mills, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.