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Car Accident / 7.27.2023

5 Things You Should Know About Police Reports After a Car Accident

How Police Reports Can Help (and Hurt) Your Car Accident Claim

If you are injured in a car accident, a police report can prove to be a critical piece of evidence in proving your claim. A police report, also known as an accident report, will contain all of the relevant information, such as when the crash occurred, the weather conditions, and the other involved parties. The investigating officer will also provide a narrative on who they believe was at fault for the collision.

At Richard Schwartz & Associates, P.A., we can help you understand how to obtain a copy of your accident report and how to ensure its accuracy. Our lawyers have extensive experience helping accident victims maximize their damages. We will fight to make sure that you receive the financial recovery you deserve. If you were injured in a car accident in Mississippi, contact our office at (601) 988-8888 to schedule a free consultation. 

Here are five things you should know about police reports if you are injured in a car accident:

1.  Who Should File a Police Report?

Mississippi law requires a motorist involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage of over $500 to notify the local police department. Even if someone does not believe they are seriously injured, state law requires that the police be called, and an accident report be filed. 

2.  How Long Does a Police Report Take After an Accident?

An officer who investigates an accident must forward a written report to their department within six days of completing the investigation. The police department must then forward the report to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). 

It can take approximately 12 days for the DPS to receive the report and make it available to involved parties. It is not unusual to have to wait for a few weeks before you can receive a copy of the final report. The easiest way to obtain a crash report is online from the DPS. It costs $20 and is available for 24 hours after it is purchased. 

3.  How Are Police Reports Used in a Car Accident Case?

Police reports will contain basic identifying information about the parties, eyewitnesses, and the vehicles involved. This can help you (through your attorney) contact other parties that were involved in the collision.

The report will also detail what the officer believes happened in the accident. The officer will provide a narrative and assign fault based on their investigation. While not definitive, it can help to prove your claim. 

4.  Can a Police Report Be Changed After an Accident?

Yes, a police or accident report can be changed after an accident. If an error is noticed in the official report, the department can be notified, and a request to correct the information can be made. The Mississippi Uniform Crash Report is 14 pages long and contains infinite details about the accident. It is not uncommon for there to be errors or omissions that need to be corrected.

5.  What Are Common Errors in a Police Report?

  • Factual Errors - These errors are generally the easiest to correct and can be proven with supplemental evidence. For example, the officer might have written down an incorrect birthdate or put an incorrect description of your vehicle.
  • Omissions - The officer may have forgotten or missed an important detail about the crash. It can be difficult to detect something that has been left out of the report or to determine whether the piece of information is critical to your case. 
  • Dispute Error - These errors occur when you disagree with an officer’s findings or the statement of another party. Dispute errors are the most difficult to have amended since it may only be your word and recollection against another person’s.

Contact Our Office Today to Discuss Your Case

If you suspect that there was an error or omission on your accident report, you need to speak with an attorney. A lawyer can help you obtain a copy of the report and dispute any errors. To learn more, contact our office at (601) 988-8888 to schedule a free consultation.

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