Obtaining and Correcting a Police Report Following a Car Accident in Florida
Filing and obtaining a copy of a police report is one of the most important steps to take following a car accident in Florida. Specifically, a police report will help support your story regarding the accident and more importantly, it will support your claims for compensation. Most people who are in a car accident have no problem filing the police report as a first step. Problems may arise when they try to obtain a copy of the report or when they do, if the police report contains errors that need to be corrected.
Obtaining a Copy of the Police Report
The first hurdle that must be overcome is to obtain a physical copy of the police report. Florida Statute § 316.066 provides that parties involved in a car accident have the right to obtain a report prior to the sixty (60) day waiting period that non-parties must otherwise wait. Therefore, you will be able to request a copy of the police report from the police department where your report was filed. In some cases, you can request the report online if the police department has the option.
Errors in a Police Report
So you have obtained a copy of the police report and you realize it has a few factual errors. The good news is that it is possible under some circumstances to correct these errors. The most common errors that can be corrected are ones that can be proven by evidence to the contrary. For example, a common error that can be changed in a report include: the time of the accident, the makes and models of the cars involved, the type of insurance the drivers have, the weather at the time of the accident, and injuries and damages sustained by the parties from the accident. To correct these mistakes, you can produce evidence that contradicts what is listed in the report.
While the factual errors are easier to dispute, any opinion written by a police officer in the report as to who was at fault for the accident will be much more difficult to correct. In these instances, people often opt to write their own version of the accident and ask the police department to attach it to a copy of the report.
When Do You Need to Get the Police Report?
Florida law provides that the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim from injuries related to a car accident is four years (4) from the date of injury. Therefore, you will want to obtain a copy of the report before the statute of limitation elapses so you can make sure you file your claim in a timely manner.
Contact the Experienced Lawyers Today
Understanding the best way to use a police report can be challenging, particularly if you believe it contains errors that need to be addressed prior to using it in support of your claim. The experienced West Palm Beach lawyers at Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, PLLC can help go through your police report with you and determine the best strategy for negotiating your claim given the facts contained in the report. Contact us today for a free consultation.