You were injured in a car accident due to another person’s negligence, but when you finally get a chance to read the police report describing the collision, you see that it falsely blames you for the crash. How did this happen, and what can you do to get it corrected?
Human errors happen, and the investigating officer might have entered the wrong information, particularly if more than two cars were involved. They may have been in a hurry and simply made a mistake because they were more focused on clearing traffic and helping injured people than describing how the accident happened. However, accident reports can be changed – you need to tell the investigating officer they made a mistake as soon as possible.
How do I get my Sevierville accident report?
There are several ways to obtain a crash report in Tennessee:
- You can request it online by paying a $10 fee and providing your last name, accident date, reporting agency, driver’s license number, your car’s VIN number, license plate number, case, or tracking number.
- If the crash was investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), you can go to the THP district office and buy a copy of the report for four dollars. You can also purchase it through the mail.
- If another Tennessee law enforcement agency investigated the crash, you can contact that agency and purchase a copy of the report. You will need to provide the date of the crash, the county in which the accident occurred, the name(s) of the driver(s) involved, and the agency tracking number.
- You can send a cashier’s check, money order, or personal/business check for $4 to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Financial Responsibility Division, PO Box 945, Nashville, TN 37202-0945.
- A person involved in a Nashville accident can access a report through org but must certify that they were involved in the accident, legally represent an involved party, or are an insurance representative of the party. Reports of accidents that involve criminal charges or fatalities will not be made available through the website.
Accident reports can be accessed approximately five to seven days after the date of the collision.
If my car accident report is wrong, should I try to get it changed?
It would likely be in your best interest to get it corrected. Here are some reasons why:
- Although accident reports are generally not admissible in Tennessee courts, a police department must make reports available to any party who requests them, so multiple people might read them.
- Police use the information in police reports for their internal reviews and provide it to traffic safety agencies that compile data on why accidents happen.
- Police officers can be called to testify about their observations regarding the accident, and they often review accident reports to refresh their memories.
- Insurance companies use police reports to make an initial determination of fault and liability for an accident. If liability is incorrectly attributed to someone other than their insured, they will contest fault and compensation.
Generally, the sooner a report is reviewed and errors are spotted, the easier it is to get the police officer to take the necessary steps to correct it.
How do I get an accident report corrected?
Suppose you think the report generated after your car accident is inaccurate or incomplete. In that case, you may be able to get the investigating officer to correct it or add supplemental information, depending on the type of error you are disputing.
- Factual errors. If the officer made a mistake involving an objective fact – information about you, your vehicle, your insurance policy, or the location of the collision – you can request that it be changed or supplemented by providing the correct information. In most cases, you’ll have a chance to get it corrected.
- Transcription errors. Law enforcement officers typically take notes at the crash scene and then use them to make the report – sometimes hours or even days after the accident. If their notes are wrong or hard to understand, the report may have errors. If conversations were recorded at the scene of the crash, you can ask the officer to amend the report accordingly.
- Errors of omission. If the police report leaves out specific essential details, it is said to contain “errors of omission.” If you initiate a conversation with the officer, you might be able to refresh their memory regarding something they neglected to mention in the report.
If you disagree with the subjective information in the accident report – such as descriptions of the accident provided by witnesses, or the officer’s conclusion that you were speeding or violated a traffic law – it will likely be more challenging to get the report revised.
Although you technically cannot “correct” witness statements, you may be able to request that your version of events be included in the original report or provided in a supplemental report. You can also challenge someone else’s opinion or recollection of the crash during the insurance claim process or in court.
Police reports are significant evidence in car accident claims. If you believe the police report generated following your car crash is wrong, you should contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. A Sevierville car accident attorney can help you get the errors corrected or collect evidence to help you prove the report contains errors.
Accurate documentation of an automobile accident is critical to defend your rights; unfortunately, accident reports are often not error-free. The experienced legal team at Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, represents citizens throughout the state, including those in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Seymour, Gatlinburg, Bristol, Johnson City, Kingsport, and Greeneville in car accident claims. We will protect your rights and do everything we can to ensure that the documentation of your crash is accurate. Call us at 865-428-8780 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation and discuss your options today.
Attorney Bryan E. Delius was born and raised in Sevier County, TN. He founded Delius & McKenzie more than 20 years ago, after receiving his JD from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is admitted in Tennessee and in several federal court systems. Learn more about Bryan E. Delius.