How to Report a car accident in Colorado
When an auto crash happens, one of the most important things to do in the immediate aftermath is to report the accident to authorities. Not only does Colorado law require all motorists involved in crashes to report a collision to “the proper law enforcement authorities,”,1 but making this report as soon as possible after the accident can be crucial to the strength and success of a future car accident claim.
That’s because the crash report can contain key evidence to support victims’ claims when it’s time to pursue recovery.
So, when a car accident in Denver happens, here are the three ways you can report it to authorities:
1. Call 911 – Taking action to get emergency responders and police to the scene of an auto accident can be crucial when anyone needs emergency medical attention or help is needed to clear the wreckage. Even if a car crash isn’t serious, however, calling 911 can be important to getting the accident investigation underway ASAP. As part of this investigation, responding police officers will:
- Record the important details associated with the crash (like the date, time, and location of the accident; the conditions at the time of the crash; the names and contact information for all parties involved in the wreck; etc.)
- Interview all parties involved in the crash, including the drivers, any non-driver victims and/or any witnesses to the wreck
- Take pictures of the scene
- Report whether any involved party violated traffic laws as part of the accident (and record which, if any, drivers were issued citations after the car accident)
- Report any additional findings regarding fault for the crash.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident call us for a free case evaluation.
2. Call a non-emergency police line –When car accidents are less serious (because, for example, they only involve a non-injury fender bender), it may be more appropriate to call a non-emergency police line. In Denver, the non-emergency help number for police is (720) 913-2000.2
3. Report the car accident online – CSP has an online accident reporting tool1 that allows motorists involved in crashes to report accidents after the fact (i.e., when drivers are no longer at the accident scene). Although this option for reporting a car accident won’t come with an official police investigation and report for the crash, it can still be a good way to document what happened in and after the auto wreck, providing important evidence for a future car accident claim.
Note: CSP’s online accident reporting tool also allows drivers to file “counter reports” for crashes,3 which may be necessary when law enforcement officials are unable to respond to the accident (because, for instance, they are occupied with other crashes/incidents, weather conditions prevent them from responding, etc.).
In Denver (and throughout Colorado), car accident reports are retained by Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for seven years.3
After Reporting a Denver Car Accident to Police: What to Do Next
• Request a copy of the police report – Contact the law enforcement agency that responded to the crash (or that received the accident report), and make an official request to receive a copy of this report. To do this, you will need to:
- Complete form DR2489, Requestor Release and Affidavit of Intended Use, and pay the necessary fee
- Wait 90 days for the copy of the report to become available (For an additional fee, these requests can be expedited).5
• Carefully review the car accident report – After receiving the incident report, be sure to carefully and thoroughly read it over to make sure it’s accurate and that nothing is missing (or has been erroneously documented). If there are mistakes, omissions or other issues with the accident report, it will be important to note the inaccuracies and contact the officer who wrote the report to try to get the issues rectified (or at least officially noted).
• Report the car accident to the insurance company – In addition to reporting a Denver car accident to the proper law enforcement authorities, it’s also important to make sure that the insurance company is notified of the crash.
While you don’t have to give an official (i.e., recorded) statement immediately (and nor should you), making this report to an insurer as soon as possible after a crash can be crucial to avoiding additional challenges with a future car accident claim. One of the primary reasons for this is that many auto insurance policies contain provisions that specifically require accident reports be filed by policyholders within hours (like 24 to 72 hours) of a collision.
• Consult a Denver car accident attorney – This is the single most effective way to protect your rights and interests after a car accident, as a lawyer can help:
- Identify any and all liable parties for the crash
- Compile the necessary evidence for a car accident claim
- Stand up to insurance companies (and others) on behalf of victims (including families who have lost a loved one to a fatal car accident)
- Ensure the recovery process is resolved as favorably as possible so that victims are able to secure the compensation they deserve – Auto accident recoveries can include damages for various costs and losses, such as property damage, medical bills, lost wages, loss of consortium, and mental suffering.
Reporting a Denver Car Accident: The Bottom Line
When it comes to reporting a car accident in Denver, the bottom line is that:
- The time you spend upfront reporting a crash can go a long way towards saving you time and stress in the future when it’s time to pursue compensation for your crash-related injuries and losses.
- If you are unable to report the crash for any reason (like because you were too badly hurt in the wreck and needed emergency medical care), contacting a lawyer will be crucial to safeguarding your rights and recovery options. It can also be the key to healing, reclaiming your life, and putting the accident behind you.
Get on the Road to Recovery: Contact an Experienced Denver Car Accident Attorney at Bell & Pollock, P.C.
If you have been injured in an auto wreck or in any type of traffic crash, you can turn to a Denver car accident attorney at Bell & Pollock, P.C. for experienced help advocating your rights and pursuing justice.
At Bell & Pollock, our lawyers are proud to be champions of the people, providing victims of negligence with superior legal representation to help them maximize their financial recovery. For well over three decades, our trusted attorneys have been standing up to even the most formidable opponents, protecting our clients’ rights as we help them bring their cases to the best possible outcomes.
Call (303) 795-5900 or email our firm using the contact form on this page to set up a free initial consultation with us and find out more about how we can help you. During this meeting, you will receive clear, honest legal advice about your case, your rights and your best options for moving forward.
From our offices conveniently located in Denver, our lawyers provide the highest quality legal services to injured people throughout the Denver metro area, Arapahoe County, Routt County and the state of Colorado.
1: According to the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), whose online crash reporting tool is available here – https://crash.state.co.us/
2: Additional contact info for the Denver Police Department (DPD) – https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/police-department/contact.html
3: Step-by-step instructions on how to file a counter report for a car accident in Denver – https://www.arapahoegov.com/DocumentCenter/View/2312
4: Information on reporting a car accident in Denver, from the Colorado DMV – https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dmv/report-accident
5: DPD’s Records Office – https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/police-department/records.html
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