The police will do many things when they are called to the scene of a car accident in Maine. Police will keep the area safe until the scene is cleared and ensure the injured get help. They will also gather information and talk to the people involved to generate an official accident report.
The State of Maine Crash Report contains accident details, a narrative and diagram of the crash, information about injuries, and information about witnesses. Insurance companies review these reports carefully because they use this information when determining liability for car accidents and whether you should receive compensation for your losses – as well as how much.
Reading through your Maine accident report
If any information in the accident report is wrong or missing, your ability to recover financial compensation in an injury claim or lawsuit could be negatively affected. That's why getting a copy of your accident report as soon as possible is important. You can get a copy from the Maine Crash Reporting Online Search & Ordering Service page. As you read through the accident report, carefully check for the following:
- Factual errors – There may be information that is clearly wrong. For example, the wrong street name where the accident happened or the name of your insurance company.
- Transcription errors – An officer may have made a mistake when entering information into the accident report after reading notes that were taken at the scene. For example, even though you told the officer you were going 55 mph, it shows up in the report as 65 mph.
- Missing information – The officer may have left out information that didn't seem important at the time. For example, you may have told the officer you had pain in your neck and shoulder. But if that's not in the report, the insurance company may claim you reported no injuries at the scene.
- Disputed information – People involved in an accident often have different explanations of what happened. For example, the other driver may claim you failed to stop and check for oncoming traffic before turning – even though that's not true.
What are your options if you find an error or disagree with what was written in your accident report?
It's in your best interests to get legal advice if you find an error or disagree with what the investigating officer wrote in your accident report. A car accident attorney can deal with the police for you and take steps to fix mistakes and inaccuracies.
We don't recommend going through this process alone, but if you choose to do so, you need to act quickly and follow these steps:
- Contact the police department that responded to your crash. Ask to speak to the officer that completed the report (the officer's name and badge number will appear on it).
- Be courteous and polite. It's perfectly understandable if you are upset that the correct information was not included. But remember, the police don't have to make any changes.
- Explain the error. Provide the officer with the correct information.
- Be ready with evidence. Depending on the error you seek to correct, this could be a copy of your insurance policy, photos, or other documentation.
- Ask what can be done. The officer may agree to amend the report, pointing out the error and giving the correct information. However, if there is disputed information, the officer can't simply correct it. However, you may be allowed to include a statement as an addendum to the report, giving your version of events.
Again, amending an accident report is much easier when you hire an attorney to represent you. If you need help obtaining or reading your accident report, our legal team can help with that too. The key is to call us right away. The longer you wait to take action after a car accident, the more you risk missing out on the compensation you're entitled to under Maine law.
At Jabar LaLiberty, LLC, we know how to help. We've been fighting for the injured in Portland, Waterville, and throughout Maine for decades. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.