The Kentucky Police Report is Wrong. Now What Do I Do?
Advice for an incorrect police report By Brian Dettman www.louisville-injury-lawyer.com
Part OneA police report will not 100% determine the result of your case. I've recovered thousands of dollars for clients who are considered "at fault" on a police report. That being said, I'd rather have a police report that lists the other driver at fault.
First question you have: Can I have the police officer re-write the report and make it correct? Put it this way: if you wrote a report for your job, and someone told you that you were wrong, would you change it? Probably not. There is a rumor in Jefferson County, Kentucky that police officers are no longer allowed to amend police reports. I have seen one amended in the past three years.
The way I look at police reports is this: If they say what I want, they are right. If I don't like what they say, they are wrong. How can that be? Well the first thing to keep in mind is that 99% of the time a police report is written with information the cops receive after the fact. The police don't witness the crash. They gather information post crash and attempt to make an informed determination as to what happened. That does not mean they get it right and as a general rule the police report is inadmissible at trial (it's hearsay).
It's unfortunate, but people who are in crashes are going to lie in hopes that their insurance rates don't go up. They will also lie in an attempt to make a claim against you and your insurance company. The old running joke among lawyers that do what I do is that there is no such thing as a red light. The police can also just flat out get it wrong, because people are human. In any case, there are reasons why the police get the report wrong and reasons why they get it right. Here is the real news: IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THE POLICE THINK HAPPENED. It matters what a jury will think (and along those lines what an insurance adjuster or defense attorney thinks a jury will think).
Your first hurdle is the insurance adjuster, and don't talk to them without a lawyer. The adjuster will go with a police report, unless they speak to their insured and their insured tells them the police report is wrong. As you can imagine, that isn't going to happen too often. You or your lawyer will have to determine whether to provide a statement to the insurance company, if you know the police report to be incorrect. There are plenty of factors to consider and I'm not interested in putting the insurance companies of America onto my thought process here. Let's just say this: there are some adjusters and insurance companies I would NEVER provide a statement to based on their past performance. There are other adjusters and insurance companies that will listen to people and change their mind. Remember this: if you do provide a statement and the insurance company doesn't change their mind than that statement can potentially be used against you in the litigation process (there is an exception).
Part TwoIf the insurance company will not change their mind based on a statement, your next step is litigation. Your lawyer will get to depose the other driver and if the lawyer knows what they are doing, then the other driver may say something contradictory to what was previously said. Your lawyer can also take a look at things from an outsider prospective, maybe go out to the scene, time the green and red lights, look for green arrows. I pull up crash scenes on Google maps to see if they make sense or not.
If your case makes it to trial, you will then get a chance to present your side of the story to a jury. If nine out of twelve people believe you then you win. To get here you need a lawyer that 1) believes your version of the event and 2) thinks your case is one worth pursuing. The vast majority of personal injury lawyers have free consultation. Go talk to one if the police report is wrong.