A Denver Auto Accident Attorney Explains How to Report a Crash
Being involved in a car accident can be an alarming, stressful and painful experience, both for drivers and passengers. What you do in the immediate aftermath of a crash can have lasting consequences.
The first thing to do is to call 911 immediately if anyone has been injured or if any of the cars involved cannot be safely moved from oncoming traffic. The next step is to report the accident, which is generally required by state law in Colorado. It is also vital to ensure that you can seek compensation from those responsible for the accident.
The reporting step is often overlooked in the confusion and uncertainty that follows a crash. Yet, the report contains key evidence and information about witnesses that can make or break a case for a person injured in a collision. An experienced Denver Car Accident Attorney from Levine Law can help you use this evidence to maximize your compensation.
What Are My Options for Reporting a Crash in Colorado?
A Denver car accident attorney explains three primary ways to report a car accident in Colorado, which can vary depending on the circumstances.
Before reporting the accident, you should check yourself for injuries and determine whether you or anyone else needs immediate medical attention. If you are not seriously injured and your car is driveable, move the vehicle out of traffic and turn on your hazard lights to avoid additional accidents.
Call 911 immediately if anyone needs medical assistance or if a vehicle cannot be safe from harm’s way. The sooner emergency responders get to the scene of the crash, the more likely it is that they can limit serious injury and even death.
Calling 911 also means that a police officer will arrive at the scene to respond to the accident and investigate the cause of the crash. In addition, the officer will complete an accident report, which often provides critical information in car accident cases.
Call a Non-Emergency Police Line
If you and others do not need immediate medical attention, you can alert the police to the accident through a non-emergency line. The Denver Police’s non-emergency line is (720) 913-2000.
It is essential, however, to see a medical professional if you later experience pain. This is because, in some cases, injuries (or the full extent of an injury) may not be clear until well after a crash happens.
Report the Collision Online
Colorado State Patrol also allows people to report accidents online after they happen. Motorists can also request a copy of an accident report, which the state Department of Motor Vehicles retains for seven years.
The problem with reporting online is that this will not result in a report from a police officer who arrived on the scene after the crash, observed the physical evidence, and spoke with witnesses. It can nevertheless be helpful to document what happened.
If you cannot report an accident for any reason, it is important that you consult an experienced attorney. A Denver car accident attorney can ensure that your rights and options are protected.
Why Is It Important to File a Police Report in Colorado?
Some people may not necessarily want to get the police involved when an accident happens or wait around for cops to show up after a collision, especially when it comes to seemingly minor fender benders. However, they are particularly helpful in determining who is to blame for a collision, which is necessary in order for anyone injured in a crash to get compensation.
The responding police officer will record a variety of information, including the date, time, and location of the crash, the drivers and others involved, and the driving conditions at the time of the accident. The officer may also take photographs of the accident scene, including any skid marks and damage to the cars.
The officer will additionally identify and interview anyone who witnessed the vehicle. This is crucial because witnesses can provide a third-party account of how the collision happened. The officer will record witnesses’ names and contact information, who can later be called to testify in a car accident case.
Finally, the officer will typically reach some sort of conclusion as to whether any of the drivers involved violated traffic laws and determine who was at fault.
What Should I Do After Reporting an Accident in Colorado?
There are several steps you should also take after reporting the accident.
- Request a copy of the police report. To get the report from the DMV, you need to complete and submit a release request form and pay a small fee. It can take up to 90 days to obtain a copy of the report, but the process can also be expedited for an additional fee.
- Review it carefully. Once you obtain a copy of the report, you should review it carefully for any mistakes or incomplete information. Although the reporting officer is not required to change the report, it is worth requesting that incorrect information or omissions be addressed. At the least, you can document that you disagree with certain parts of the report.
- Insurance company. You should also send the report to your insurance company.
How Can a Denver Car Accident Attorney Help Me?
A Denver car accident attorney can evaluate your case, identify those responsible for the accident, and help you understand your rights and options for seeking compensation. An attorney can also investigate the accident, contact witnesses and compile medical records to develop the strongest possible claim for money damages.
Although some car accident cases go to trial, an experienced attorney will explore ways to resolve the case efficiently and without the time, stress, and cost of a long court battle. That includes my negotiating with insurers, negligent drivers, and others liable for the collision.
Some Denver car accident lawyers take cases on a contingency fee basis, depending on the circumstances. Unfortunately, that often means that the lawyer does not get paid unless they obtain compensation for you. Get help with your case by contacting us today.