After being involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is always a good idea to contact 9-1-1 to get police and medical assistance to the crash scene as quickly as possible. That said, what if the responding officer makes a mistake or two when writing up your police report?
At Schmidt Kramer, we understand the importance of being able to rely on your police report for accuracy. However, even the most meticulous officers can sometimes document something wrong. This is why we recommend not waiting to get a copy of your police report. That way, even if you discover an error, you can quickly take steps to get it corrected.
Our knowledgeable auto collision attorneys in Harrisburg are ready to help. We have the resources and staff to fully investigate the cause of your crash, and we are prepared to seek full and fair compensation on your behalf.
Do you have legal questions after a car crash? Schmidt Kramer has answers. Call ((717) 727-2550 today.
Do I Always Need to Report a Car Crash to Pennsylvania Police?
In Pennsylvania, drivers must report a traffic accident to the police anytime someone gets injured, even if it is a fender bender. You are also required to report a crash if either vehicle requires a tow because it cannot be driven and moved on its own. You should also remain at the scene and report any hit-and-run crash you are involved in as a victim.
Reporting minor incidents, such as a fender bender where the damage seems minor, may still be a good idea. The reason for this is that sometimes people who claim they are not injured may change their minds later. If you have a police report, you have an official document of what occurred.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Harrisburg Police Report?
It is important to get a copy of your Harrisburg police report as soon after your car crash as possible. Early on, everyone’s memory about what happened, including the responding officer’s, is still fresh.
It will cost you $15 to get a copy of this report, but it is a fairly straightforward process. You can make this request in person, by regular mail or by email ([email protected]).
How Soon Should I Request My Police Report After a Crash?
Whether you live in Pennsylvania or any other state, you should get a copy of your police report right away. Once your police report arrives, you should immediately double-check all of the information to make sure it is correct. You should especially check critical details where accuracy is vital to your ability to file a claim, such as:
- Your basic contact details (name, address, phone number, etc.)
- The date, time and location of the accident
- What the officer documented as your vehicle details (make, model, etc.)
- The other driver’s contact details
- Vehicle details of the other driver
- Your personal statement about the accident and what happened
- Road and weather conditions at the time of the crash
- Extent of damage to your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle
- Diagram of both vehicles involved in the crash
- Contributing factors that led to the crash
- Whether anyone was injured in the crash
If there are no errors on your police report, you can file it with the rest of your crash claim documents and medical expenses so you can easily access it at any time throughout the claims process.
What If I Find Errors on My Pennsylvania Police Report?
If there are mistakes on your police report, then you will be glad that you got a copy of this document sooner rather than later. Days to weeks after the accident, the officer who responded to your crash may still remember details about what happened. If you wait too long, however, getting mistakes corrected will be a lot harder.
Some of the most common types of mistakes could include factual things like:
- The wrong color, make or model of your vehicle
- The damage described is incorrect
- The officer’s crash diagram is incorrect
- The police report says, “no injuries” yet you were transported to the hospital for treatment
- The officer issued a citation to the other driver, but that violation is not mentioned on the report
Other errors may be non-factual. For instance, you say that you had the right of way at an intersection, but a witness says you went through a red light. When this information is in error, it is harder to prove.
Regardless of the errors you find, it is vital that you take steps to correct them.
What Errors Can You Change on Your PA Police Report?
While you can correct errors on your police report, your approach will be depending on the type of mistake made.
Errors Based on Facts
These types of mistakes are the easiest to correct since you should have concrete documentation that backs up the data you are asking to be amended.
For instance, say the responding officer documented your vehicle make correctly, but gave the wrong model. If you provide the officer with a copy of your vehicle’s title, they should have no issue with amending the police report.
An non-factual is harder to get corrected, but not impossible. An example of a non-factual error might include the following:
- You drove through an intersection on a green light (the report says the light was red)
- You ran a stop sign (you remember coming to a full and complete stop)
- The police report contains a witness statement saying he or she observed you speeding. (You are sure you were going the posted limit)
Non-factual errors are more challenging to correct than mistakes based on facts. You do not have any concrete documents that can help to prove you are right. In this situation, however, you can write your own account of what happened and send it in, requesting that it be attached to your police report as evidence.
Ultimately, this document may or may not get added, so save a copy of your request. In some cases, your attorney may be able to get evidence that supports your claim. For example, if there was a traffic camera that caught you moving through the intersection on a green light and not a red light.
Sometimes, it may be easier to correct non-factual errors with the help of an attorney. Hiring an experienced lawyer to handle your case can ensure your benefits and legal rights are protected. Additionally, statistics show that crash victims with legal representation are far more likely to recover significant compensation than someone who goes it alone.
Call Schmidt Kramer for Legal Help After a Car Crash
At Schmidt Kramer, we have been advocating for the injured in Harrisburg and throughout Pennsylvania for decades. We have a history of proven results, recovering hundreds of millions for our clients. These recovery results include a $2.2 million verdict awarded to the widow of a victim who died in a fiery crash.
Not sure if you have a case? You can contact our law offices 24/7 to request a free initial consultation. This meeting carries no cost, risk or obligation to you, but it is an excellent opportunity to discuss your situation after a crash.
If your case has merit and we represent you, there is nothing to pay up front or throughout the legal process. We only receive our fee if we are successful in recovering a settlement or jury-awarded verdict on your behalf.
Call for a free case review today. (717) 727-2550