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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    5

    Question Can You Compel a Police Report Correction

    I park my car overnight in the street in front of my building in NYC. About 10 days ago, I went down to move my car for street cleaning purposes and found the car to have been hit and damaged on the rear left side (door, panel and bumper) with the right wheel having been pushed onto the side walk as a result of the hit. On the windshield I found a city comptroller claim form partially filled out by the driver of a city sanitation truck saying that he hit the car that morning and telling me to file the claim form. He left his garage phone number, truck number, and the time of the incident. I called 911 and a police car came over and I asked for a report. They read the other driver's message on the claim form and I told them my part of the facts. When they were done, the police told me that they were able to connect with the driver's garage using that phone number.

    I picked up the report a few days ago. The report puts me at the scene of the accident when the accident took place, obviously an outright falsehood. It says that I had the car parked unattended and returned at the time of the accident and found the damage and the form on the windshield which gave me the contact number for the other driver. It appears from the report that when the police called the other driver's garage they only obtained the plate number of the truck which is the only information they wrote on the report regarding the other vehicle and driver. They left all other info blank. ie. name, address, registration, etc...

    Meanwhile they filled my name as the driver of the vehicle, while I was nowhere around the car at the time of the accident. The only info they had to fill about me was the vehicle info. I was not driving. Upon doing some research, I was able to conclude that the other driver had a legal obligation (misdemeanor) not to leave the scene but to make sure he calls the police because the damage on the car was visibly worth more a $1000. Having left the scene, now the police, when they called that number, became obligated to get the other driver's info to enter in the report, which they did not do. Now they place me on the report as the only known driver, while I was not driving. For the last three days I have received several phone calls from attorneys, apparently who had access to this report somewhere, asking to represent me assuming I was injured in the accident. In other words, they deduce clearly from the report that I was inside the vehicle at the time of the accident. I have written a certified letter to the officer putting the facts up straight again and pointing out his shortcomings in the report, and asked him to amend the report to reflect the truth. I have a feeling that the police will ignore my letter.

    I need to know if there is any way I can legally compel the police to amend the report, and whether I have some other recourse elsewhere. If the state does not provide a legal vehicle to correct the report, can the state be sued? There will be damage caused by the falsehood in the report, mainly the time I will have to spend bearing the burden to prove what actually happened either to my insurance company, or to the city comptroller office. The falsehood in the report shift the burden to me to prove otherwise. There must be a way to go about it. I read on some lawyer's website upstate that if a person does not succeed in correcting the facts by asking the police to amend the report, he would take care of it. I contacted that lawyer but he was not interested in helping because there was no personal injury in my case. I would appreciate all input. Thank you all.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,312

    Default Re: Compel Police Report Correction

    You can contact the police and ask that they amend the report. If they do not choose to do so there is nothing you can really do to make them amend it. Spending thousands of dollars on an attorney to go to court and try to compel the police to add an amendment does not seem practical.

    Ultimately, has the city agreed to take responsibility for the damage to your vehicle? If you are going to hopefully be made whole in some way, isn't that the end result you want, anyway?
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

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    Love mercy,
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,871

    Default Re: Compel Police Report Correction

    Quote Quoting nyJoey
    View Post

    I need to know if there is any way I can legally compel the police to amend the report, and whether I have some other recourse elsewhere. If the state does not provide a legal vehicle to correct the report, can the state be sued?
    The police report has nothing to do with your claim against the city. You didn't even have to call the police in the first place.

    This is what counts.

    Quote Quoting nyJoey
    View Post
    On the windshield I found a city comptroller claim form partially filled out by the driver of a city sanitation truck saying that he hit the car that morning and telling me to file the claim form. He left his garage phone number, truck number, and the time of the incident.
    You should have made the call yourself.

    Make the call now.

    smh

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,534

    Default Re: Compel Police Report Correction

    In many other similar situations I see the incorrect report as problematic if the city should resist paying the claim. In this situation I think the city would be hard pressed to deny liability. Given it isn’t likely to cause I problem I don’t believe you should spend the time trying to get it amended.


    The problem you have discovered is there is no obligation the cop file an accurate report and no obligation to correct it when the issue is brought to light. An incorrect report can cause a lot of problems and given it is supposed to be an “official” report, I would like to see a legal obligation the report be accurate and if it includes an error it be corrected.


    My father was the victim of a cop with a similar lack of attention for details. My father was involved in an accident. The reporting officer suggested my father was at fault (which he clearly was not) but he had the my father turning the opposite direction that he had. If the other drivers insurance company had balked at paying, the police report could have been use to deny liability since if my father was in fact turning the opposite direction, it might have been determined to be his fault.
    The cop refused to correct or even add a statement by my father contesting the accuracy of the report.

    Given a police report is generally given greater weight than a party to the incident it really is a big issue when they include errors in their reports.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Compel Police Report Correction

    Thanks for your input cdwjava… the city claim form asks for the police report, and asks the claimant to file a suit in court if the comptroller does not agree to pay the claimed damages after 15 months. The city also asks that you not repair the car until they send their own appraiser to evaluate the damage. Since I will be asking for a diminishing value damage in addition to the cost of the repairs, it surely appears it is going to be a long drawn headache. The diminishing value claim is available in New York and is necessary because the car is still new and is expected to lose a few grands only by virtue of showing an accident on the Carfax report.

    You are right adjusterjack… however, I did ask for a report in order to get more support for my claim. Since the report has been generated, I am obligated to provide it to the comptroller now...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,534

    Default Re: Compel Police Report Correction

    Just a little info regarding diminution of value in New York.

    In Miller v. Sanchez, 6 Misc.3d 479, 789 N.Y.S.2d 850 (N.Y. City Civ. Ct. 2004), the court accepted the difference in value as the proper measure of tort damages. If the auto is of the type that appreciates in value, such as with rare automobiles, or is otherwise unique or brand new, third-party diminution of value damages for a motor vehicle are recoverable in addition to the cost of repairs even if the repairs restore the vehicle to its pre-accident condition. Franklin Corp. v. Prahler, 932 N.Y.S.2d 610 (N.Y. App. 2011); Rosenfield v. Choberka, 529 N.Y.S.2d 455 (N.Y. 1988) (vehicle “a few weeks” old); Parkoff v. Stavsky, 2013 WL 4528799 (N.Y. App. 2013) (Mercedes-Benz with only 398 miles); Franklin Corp. v. Prahler, 932 N.Y.S.2d 610 (N.Y. App. 2011) (class car).

    you’ll likely need an appraiser to determine the amount of value lost due to the accident.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Compel Police Report Correction

    jk… you are correct... an incorrect police report can cause a lot of problems because it is considered an official report. The conclusion I am reaching from having asked many questions so far is that the officer simply cannot lie. Any misstatement of facts should be corrected via an amendment. However, the officer can conclude based on the correct facts something not supported by the facts. ie. attributing fault to the wrong person. This cannot be corrected and the affected person must argue the correct conclusion to the insurance company and insist that the insurance company pursue it in court if the insurance of the other driver insists on going by the conclusion of the officer.

    jk… it looks like you just posted this message while I was typing my response to your previous message. I appreciate your citations on the diminishing value claim. It looks like they all are New York cases... Yes an appraiser may be necessary, but for now I got a printout of my car value from Carfax before the accident report had reached them. I will make another printout after the repairs are completed. My dilemma now is being able to file a claim with the city with all the damage values supplied before hand as they say that no amendments to the claim may be made after an adjuster is assigned to the claim. it doesn't make sense because appraisals are not set in stone, and other damages can be discovered while the repairs are being done. Too many conditions...

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