What Should I Do If There Is a Mistake on the Police Report?

We frequently see mistakes in police accident reports. Sometimes, the mistakes are minor but many are serious mistakes that make it look like the motorcyclist is at fault when it was really the driver of the car who caused the accident.

Police reports must be reviewed by a supervisor but some mistakes can’t possibly be caught by a supervisor and other mistakes just aren’t noticed. The police report below shows a serious glaring mistake that wouldn’t be caught by a supervisor.

When the police accident report has a serious error which points the cause of the accident on our client, we still want to represent the client but we’ll have a little more work to do.

This Police Report Is Obviously Wrong and Blames Our Client for Causing the Accident

In the police report below, the NYS Trooper got the accident scene and The facts of how the accident happened completely wrong and backward. She blamed the motorcyclist for causing the accident by making an unsafe merge into the Parkway when it’s obvious that the entrance lane does not merge.

Our client was riding a motorcycle and is listed on this police report as V1. The Trooper wrote: “V1 had just gotten onto Ocean Parkway and made an unsafe merge, colliding with V2”.

Police Report Error

This police report wrongly states our client’s motorcycle V1 improperly made an unsafe merge onto the Parkway

The New York State Trooper inserted a diagram into the police report showing the Parkway entrance. The diagram was obtained from the New York State Police accident report software.

The Trooper either selected the wrong type of Parkway entrance or since this type of entrance is less common, it may not have been in the software. Whatever the reason, it is clearly the wrong diagram.

Wrong Police Report Diagram

This police report diagram shows a normal merge onto a Parkway and is the wrong diagram which caused the Trooper to indicate on the police report that our client was at fault when he was not.

The diagram shows a common Parkway entrance with a merge lane. However, at this location, there is no merge because the entrance becomes its own 3rd lane. Prior to the entrance, the Parkway was two lanes, but at the entrance, the Parkway changes from two lanes to three lanes.

This Google maps photo shows that there is no merge and the entrance becomes a new lane. Consequently, the entrance doesn’t match the diagram and the motorcycle did not merge into the Parkway lane.

Google Maps Photo Shows the Parkway Entrance Does Not Match the Police Report Diagram

The solid white line of the entrance merging onto the Parkway can be seen in the right foreground of the photo. There is no merge because the entrance lane continues on as a third lane and never merges into the left lane. The Parkway goes from two lanes to three lanes.

Parkway entrance lane

This view is looking towards the entrance where the motorcycle came from and shows the entrance lane on the left

The Trooper blamed the accident on our client’s motorcycle and properly merging onto the Parkway and into the lane of oncoming traffic but this is simply wrong. This probably happened because the trooper was looking at the diagram instead of the accident scene when she wrote the report.

What Can You Do When the Police Report Is Wrong?

There are only two things you can do:

  1. You can try to speak to the police officer who wrote the report or to the police officer’s supervisor and explain why the police report is wrong. On rare occasions, they will amend the police report.
  2. More likely, the police will tell you to file an MV-104 which is the driver’s report. It looks like a police report and has a similar number (the police report is an MV-104A) but this report is written by you, not the police officer. Find out how to file an MV-104 accident report to correct your police report. If you were injured, we prefer to fill out the report for you.

What Can Your Attorney Do When the Police Report Is Wrong?

Depending upon the error, there are different things that we can do. With the police report shown above, we can go out to the accident scene and take a video or get a screen capture on Google street view to show the insurance company claims representative that there is no merge and that the police accident report is obviously wrong.

If we have to file a lawsuit, we will take a deposition of the defendant car driver and when confronted with photographs of the Parkway entrance, we will likely be able to get the driver to admit that our motorcyclist did not merge into their lane.

What Does It Do to Your Accident Case If the Police Accident Report Is Wrong?

It just creates more work for us because it makes it more difficult to settle your case. The insurance company claims representatives love to go by the police report when it favors them. This sometimes means that we will have to file a lawsuit. But often we are still able to settle the accident case for the entire insurance policy.

Fortunately for you, it won’t cost you any more money if we have to work more because our legal fee remains 1/3 no matter how much work we do.

What If I Really Caused the Accident the Police Report Is Not Wrong?

We frequently represent clients who were declined by other accident lawyers either because the police report shows the accident was caused by the client or because the police accident report makes it look like that.

For instance, we settled a claim for the entire $100,000 insurance policy where a police report showed our client ran a red light on his bicycle and a witness saw him go through a red light.

We also settled a claim for the entire insurance policy where the police report indicated our client admitted he ran a stop sign on his motorcycle and a witness saw him go through the stop sign.

Other articles you may want to see:
How to Get a Police Accident Report
How to file an MV-104 accident report to correct your police report

Motorcycle Lawyer Phil FranckelPhilip L. Franckel, Esq. is the author of all articles on LongIslandMotorcycleAccidentAttorney.com.

You may have met Phil Franckel at a motorcycle event. Phil created the motorcycle awareness campaign BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®. He is a Founding Partner of 1-800-HURT-911® New York, well-known in New York for representing motorcyclists. He has a 10 Avvo rating, Avvo Client’s Choice award with all 5-star reviews, Avvo Top Contributor, and is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.


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Motorcycle Attorney Phil Franckel talks about how motorcycle accidents are different

Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Franckel is well-known in New York for representing motorcyclists and created the motorcycle awareness campaign BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®.

Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.

Long Island Motorcycle Accident Lawyer and Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.

Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Robert began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.

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