The Importance of Contacting Law Enforcement After a Colorado Accident
Some individuals choose not to involve law enforcement after a Colorado accident if they’re absolutely sure that they haven’t broken any traffic laws. But, notifying the police when you’ve been involved in a car accident is still necessary. Drivers that have been involved in a car accident are required by Colorado law to report it promptly regardless of if they were at fault or not.
Even if the motor vehicle accident is minor and you don’t think you’ve sustained any injuries, you can protect yourself by contacting law enforcement. Injuries don’t always show up the same day as the accident, so if you do start to experience an injury because of the negligence of another party, it’s going to be more difficult to file for compensation if you didn’t contact the police immediately following your accident. After calling the police, your next call should be to an experienced Colorado personal injury lawyer that can work to get you the compensation you may deserve.
Should You Report a Minor Car Accident in Colorado?
You should contact law enforcement and file a police report following a minor car crash in Colorado. Drivers are required by law to report car accidents that result in injury or property damage. While a police officer may decide not to document a minor accident, the involved drivers in the accident must still report it to the police as quickly as possible.
You’re required under Colorado law 42-4-1606 to report any motor vehicle accident that causes property damage or injury. This law clarifies that you must file a report with your nearest law enforcement agency for any property damage, injury, severe bodily injury, or fatality.
These days, most individuals use their smartphones to report car accidents. However, many people still wait for authorities to come to the scene depending on the severity of the accident.
How to Report an Accident in Colorado
When a Denver car accident occurs, there are a few ways to report the accident to law enforcement:
It’s important to call for help from police and emergency responders to come to the car accident scene if an involved party requires emergency medical assistance. Even if the accident isn’t that serious, it’s still essential to contact emergency authorities to get the investigation of the accident underway as soon as possible. During this investigation, law enforcement will:
- Interview each person involved in the accident, including drivers, witnesses to the accident, and non-driver victims
- Record the essential information associated with the car accident (time, date, accident location, names and contact information, etc.)
- Report whether any traffic laws were violated by any involved party as part of the car accident (also record if any citations were issued to any involved driver after the accident)
- Take photos of the accident scene
- Report any findings of fault for the car accident
By not calling 911, you could potentially jeopardize your case because it could result in missing evidence or important information that could be used to prove you weren’t at fault or that another party was at fault.
Contact a Non-Emergency Law Enforcement Line
When motor vehicle accidents aren’t as serious (i.e. minor fender benders without injury), calling a non-emergency law enforcement line may be more appropriate. This way, you can still get help and documentation of the accident without worrying about calling an ambulance to the scene.
Go Online to Report the Car Accident
Colorado State Patrol provides a way to report an accident online after the car accident or if the drivers aren’t at the accident scene any longer. While this reporting option doesn’t provide an official investigation or car accident report from the police, it’s still a valuable tool to document what occurred during your car accident and after and provide essential evidence for a future car crash claim.
How Can a Police Report Help My Claim?
Trained law enforcement can frequently piece together what most likely occurred just by looking the car accident scene over. They can often determine who is at fault by looking at things like the position and damage of the vehicles involved in the collision. This can be of assistance to your claim since the opinion of police officers carry a great deal of weight in the courts.
The other benefit of filing a police report is that you have a credible third party present shortly after the motor vehicle accident. They’ll be able to document evidence, and if it snows or rains, imperative evidence can be covered up easily within just a few short hours. Police reports help create records of what the car accident scene looked like immediately after the accident occurred.
Will Law Enforcement File a Colorado Accident Report?
In Colorado, law enforcement typically files a car accident report if there’s any property damage that exceeds $1,000 or if a person was injured or killed. They’ll also file a report if one or more involved drivers don’t have car insurance. Other than that, the office may not even bother creating and filing a report.
In a situation like this, you’ll want to file your own personal accident report within 60 days of the car accident to ensure there’s an official record of what occurred.
Reach Out to Mintz Law Firm to Speak With Our Reliable Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Following a car accident, if you fail to contact law enforcement or obtain a police report on file, you could be making a potentially costly mistake. It’s also a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer shortly after your accident to make sure you’re getting the help you may need.
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, Mintz Law Firm may be able to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our skilled Colorado personal injury lawyers will use the police report along with other essential evidence to build you a strong case. Call (303) 462-2999 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.