How do I dispute a traffic accident police report, as damage to my vehicle is inconsistent with the report?

I was in a traffic accident last month. I had the green light, the car that struck mine did not, although the police report agrees with her. Also, the report on the location of the accident is incorrect, as is the location of the damage on my vehicle. However, it appears my claim was not taken into account but the damage on my vehicle (i.e. the point of impact is my proof). How can I dispute the police report?

This happened at approximately 7:50 p.m. No one from either party’s insurance has come to look at my vehicle, and right now it’s their word vs. mine, and it seems like my explanation is being overlooked. However, the damage to my vehicle is proof positive.

Asked on September 1, 2017 under Accident Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If your insurer is not paying your claim (e.g. under collision insurance, assuming you have such) despite you providing evidence (possible evidence discussed below), you would sue them for "breach of contract": for not honoring their contractual (an insurance policy is a contract) obligation to pay for your loss. 
If the other driver's insure will not offer you compensation, your recourse is to sue the other driver (you sue the driver, not the insurer, because their insurer is *their* insurer--it has an obligation to defend and/or pay for them, but does not have any duty or obligation directly to you).
If an insurer or the other driver wants money from you, you can refuse to pay--they'd have then the right to sue you, and you'd have the right to defend against their case in court.
So in one way or another, if you don't get the money you want, or someone else wants money from you, this may well end up in court: the only way to force anyone to pay with by a court order or judgment, and until/unless there is a court order or judgment, any payments by anyone are voluntary.
In court, both sides present testimony from witnesses (including the drivers), possibly from expert witnesses (e.g. any insurance adjuster or accident reconstruction experts who examined the car and the other facts), and also other documentary evidence, including police reports and photographs. The police report is NOT a legally binding determination of fault: it is the police's opinion as to what happened, but does not have any legal power itself. It is evidence only, though it can be strong evidence, since the police are generally trusted in this regard.
Therefore, to fight the report--in court, if it comes to that, or just in negotiations, to try to convince an insurer to pay voluntarily--you need strong evidence, too. You start with your own testimony, but it won't be enough? Were there other witnesses, whether passengers, pedestrians, etc. who will support your version? Get their testimony, too. Take photos of the damage, the intersection, etc.--anything that supports your version. And you may need to hire a private insurance adjuster or accident reconstruction expert to render an opinion. Of course, hiring such professionals costs money, possibly a lot, so depending on how much is at stake, it may or may not be economically worth doing this.

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