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Dettman and Associates
Louisville's Car Crash and Injury Law Firm. We Work Hard For You.
Louisville's Car Crash and Injury Law Firm. We Work Hard For You.

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The police report is wrong. Now what do I do?

By Brian Dettman

A police report will not 100% determine the result of your case. I’ve recovered thousands of dollars for clients who are considered “at fault” on a police report. That being said, I’d rather have a police report that lists the other driver at fault.

First question you have: Can I have the police officer re-write the report and make it correct? Put it this way: if you wrote a report for your job, and someone told you that you were wrong, would you change it? Probably not. There is a rumor in Jefferson County, Kentucky that police officers are no longer allowed to amend police reports. I have seen one amended in the past three years.

The way I look at police reports is this: If they say what I want, they are right. If I don’t like what they say, they are wrong. How can that be? Well the first thing to keep in mind is that 99% of the time a police report is written with information the cops receive after the fact. The police don’t witness the crash. They gather information post crash and attempt to make an informed determination as to what happened. That does not mean they get it right and as a general rule the police report is inadmissible at trial (it’s hearsay).

It’s unfortunate, but people who are in crashes are going to lie in hopes that their insurance rates don’t go up. They will also lie in an attempt to make a claim against you and your insurance company. The old running joke among lawyers that do what I do is that there is no such thing as a red light. The police can also just flat out get it wrong, because people are human. In any case, there are reasons why the police get the report wrong and reasons why they get it right. Here is the real news: IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THE POLICE THINK HAPPENED. It matters what a jury will think (and along those lines what an insurance adjuster or defense attorney thinks a jury will think).

Your first hurdle is the insurance adjuster, and don’t talk to them without a lawyer. The adjuster will go with a police report, unless they speak to their insured and their insured tells them the police report is wrong. As you can imagine, that isn’t going to happen too often. You or your lawyer will have to determine whether to provide a statement to the insurance company, if you know the police report to be incorrect. There are plenty of factors to consider and I’m not interested in putting the insurance companies of America onto my thought process here. Let’s just say this: there are some adjusters and insurance companies I would NEVER provide a statement to based on their past performance. There are other adjusters and insurance companies that will listen to people and change their mind. Remember this: if you do provide a statement and the insurance company doesn’t change their mind than that statement can potentially be used against you in the litigation process (there is an exception).

If the insurance company will not change their mind based on a statement, your next step is litigation. Your lawyer will get to depose the other driver and if the lawyer knows what they are doing, then the other driver may say something contradictory to what was previously said. Your lawyer can also take a look at things from an outsider prospective, maybe go out to the scene, time the green and red lights, look for green arrows. I pull up crash scenes on Google maps to see if they make sense or not.

If your case makes it to trial, you will then get a chance to present your side of the story to a jury. If nine out of twelve people believe you then you win. To get here you need a lawyer that 1) believes your version of the event and 2) thinks your case is one worth pursuing. The vast majority of personal injury lawyers have free consultation. Go talk to one if the police report is wrong.
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Questions to Ask BEFORE You Hire a Lawyer.

Every lawyer will tell you why he or she is the best, brightest, and most aggressive attorney out there. At end of the day, lawyers (and most professionals) are in the business of sales. So how do you know which lawyer is right for your case? Here are the three most important questions you can ask:

1) Do you practice this type of law? A jack-of-all-trades in the legal industry is not the lawyer you want. As a personal injury lawyer, I wouldn’t draw up a will, start a business, or handle complex criminal matters for a friend or family member. I would refer those cases out. The reason is simple: I’m not involved in those areas of law on a day to day basis. I don’t know the complex nuances to get a potential client the best result. Sure, I could probably handle the case, but do we want a spinal surgeon performing hand surgery or a triathlete playing professional baseball? If your potential lawyer practices in a bunch of areas of law, he or she is doing just that: practicing, not perfecting. Go online and do your research, is the lawyer advertising six different types of law? Probably not the right person for the job.

2) How can I communicate with you and will you be my lawyer? A person can’t drive three minutes in Louisville without seeing a lawyer advertisement. The lawyers in those advertisements have done an excellent job of setting up a business that procures clients and makes money. But will the lawyer on the billboard actually be your lawyer? Depends on your case. Often the lawyer in the ad doesn’t live in the local community and you will be assigned another lawyer. If that is the case you better make sure you like that other lawyer. You will want direct communication with the lawyer and the lawyer’s paralegal. I get calls weekly from a client who hired a lawyer they cannot get in contact with for whatever reason. If you can’t get in contact with your lawyer there is a chance your case isn’t at the top of the list.

3) Do I actually like and trust the lawyer? If you don’t like or trust the lawyer there is a real chance that other people won’t either. This includes defense attorneys, judges, insurance adjusters and other people that will have a direct impact on your case. Test out your lawyer to see if they are full of it. Ask them what the case is worth or what the end result will be. You want confidence, but anyone that is going to promise you a result is pulling a fast one as there are lots of factors that develop over the course of a case.
Good luck.

Advertising Material. Brian R. Dettman can be reached via email at More information available at
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I filed four lawsuits this month:

1) Hardin County Passenger on Motorcycle Crash v. Car 1, Motorcycle 1, and Motorcycle 2. USAA, American Modern, and GEICO all blamed each other.

2) Jefferson County Car Crash v. Driver who ran a Stop Sign. KYFB offered too little money.

3) Jefferson County Car Crash v. Driver who pulled out in front of my client causing a crash. AAA Insurance offered too little money.

4) Jefferson County PIP Suit (Safeco) and Bodily Injury Claim v. Driver who got mad at a drive through because they didn't have his order right. He pulled out violently and struck my pedestrian client. SafeCo failed to pay for her medical expenses at all or compensate my client for her injuries.

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I am working on two dog bite cases today. We all love our dogs (especially Leroy and Elsa -- my dogs) but unfortunately they sometimes cause injury and significant medical bills. Ordinances, Homeowners Insurance, Health Insurance, and Kentucky Statutes are all important in evaluating a dog bite case. All consultations at #DettmanLaw are free and I'm happy to walk you through any questions.

Advertising Material for #LouisvilleInjuryLawyer and
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Defense Counsel to Judge: I want to make sure that Mr. Dettman doesn’t make that argument in his closing. He alluded to it in his Jury Selection and it’s not something he should be arguing.

Judge to Defense Counsel: Good lawyers wear pointy shoes so they can tiptoe the line. Mr. Dettman seems to be wearing pointy shoes and I will allow him to argue what he knows he can argue.

Not looking to pointy (and in need of a shine) but I liked the analogy.

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We moved! Located in the #Highlands at the intersection of Baxter Ave and Christy Ave: 918 Baxter Suite 310, Louisville, Kentucky, 40204.,-85.7257075,3a,75y,209.06h,98.11t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1swRCZrbarZ4RG2mlc-k-Rbg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1
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I took three depositions this week. The highlights (or lowlights) depending on what you think of Corporate America:

1) Learning that a fast food company gives their delivery drivers a portion of the sale profits. Or, from my perspective, encouraging unsafe driving by speedy delivery. The same company also has a delivery area that is defined by time to get there and NOT the distance.

2) Having a drug store manager tell me it was more important to void a sale at the front of the the store so they could continue operating than call the ambulance for my client with a fractured ankle who was sitting in the middle of the store.

3) A defendant who merged into my clients lane telling me that my clients did nothing wrong after his Insurance Company previously disputed fault.

Advertising Material (but really interesting stuff!). Louisville Injury Lawyer
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