Can you dispute an unfavorable police report?
If this happens to you, you will likely need to hire an attorney immediately. A lawsuit is likely necessary to force the insurance company to change their liability decision.
While the police report determines what party caused an accident, that decision does not necessarily have to be accepted by that party’s insurance company. The same thing is true when an insured gives a verbal admission of fault. If an insured declares that they caused the accident, their insurance company is not bound by that declaration. An insured does not have any authority to bind their insurance company to liability decisions.
Police reports are usually the best evidence we have in determining how a car accident occurred. They are written by a neutral party immediately after the accident when the events are still fresh in people’s minds. With the passage of time, people’s memories are often not nearly as accurate as we may think. This is especially true when attempting to recall specific details of an event. People have a very difficult time accurately recalling specific distances, especially when driving on busy roadways where there are many distractions.
Despite this, police reports sometimes are not written very well or are inaccurate. To give an example, I once had a case where the fact of my client’s death failed to make its way onto the police report. Major omissions such as these are frustrating when later challenged by an insurance company. Police officers do the best job they can, but, like the rest of us, sometimes they miss the mark.
The best way to challenge an inaccurate police report is to create an accident narrative using the location of the property damage. Any good personal injury attorney will know to ask for the details of where and how each car was hit during the initial consultation with a client. If the property damage tells a different story than the police report, you should proceed with confidence knowing that if the insurance company doesn’t change their liability decision, a jury certainly will.