Drivers may be unsure after an accident whether they should call the police, call the insurance company, or how to file an accident report in Denver. If the police or law enforcement do not show up to investigate the accident, drivers are generally required to report the accident to law enforcement or by filing an online accident report with the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Drivers may also be required to report the accident to their insurance company.
However, reporting an accident is only the first step in making sure your damages are repaired and your medical bills are covered. The police generally write down their observations but their reports do not necessarily show who was at fault. It may be up to the court to determine who was responsible for an auto accident in Denver.
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com represented car, truck, and motorcycle accident victims in Colorado. We will investigate your claim, deal with the insurance company, and fight to get you the money to replace your car, pay your medical bills, and cover your lost income after an accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Reporting Car Accidents in Colorado
Under 42-4-1606 CRS, all motor vehicle accidents must be reported immediately to the proper law enforcement authorities. A traffic accident is defined as unintentional damage or injury caused by the movement of a vehicle or its load. This means that even a minor fender bender, knocking over a road sign, or rolling over a friend's foot are technically all accidents that must be reported.
Law enforcement will generally respond to an accident that resulted in serious injury, where multiple vehicles were involved, where a driver fled the scene or is suspected of being impaired, or where a vehicle is disabled and has to be towed. However, the police may not show up to a minor fender bender accident that did not result in a serious injury.
If a police officer was present at the scene of an accident, you do not need to report the accident to law enforcement or the Colorado DMV. There may be further action if you receive a letter from the Department of Revenue.
If the police were not present at the scene of the accident, you may file an online accident report with the DMV. Drivers involved in an accident should gather information from the other driver or parties involved, including:
- Telephone number
- Insurance information
Get a Copy of the Accident Report
Drivers should get a copy of the police accident report and review the report to make sure it is accurate. Generally, a driver will complete a R2489 (Requestor Release and Affidavit of Intended Use) and submit the required fee. It may take up to 90 days for the police agency to report the data to be entered into the driver's license system.
Reporting an Accident to Your Insurance Company
Auto insurance policies generally require policyholders to immediately report an accident. Drivers should contact their insurance company to report the accident, including providing information gathered from the other parties involved and whether law enforcement completed an accident report.
Dangers of Not Reporting a Car Accident in Colorado
There may be plenty of reasons why someone may not want to report an accident. The driver may not want the insurance company to get involved in a minor accident that could increase their insurance costs. The driver may also consider the damage so minor that it does not need to be reported.
Alternatively, the driver may have been doing something illegal at the time, or doing something secretive, and not want anyone to find out they were driving. This could include:
- Driving without insurance,
- Driving on a suspended license,
- Driving a stolen car,
- Driving with someone they do not want their significant other to know about,
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, or
- Hit and run driver.
Failing to report an accident could result in criminal charges for a hit and run or failure to stop at the scene of an accident. There may have been someone watching who writes down the license plate of a car leaving the scene that could be reported to the police, leading to additional criminal charges.
Even when two drivers voluntarily agree not to report the accident, a driver may find out that the other driver later reported the accident and claimed serious injuries or vehicle damage. Contacting the police after an accident could avoid this issue by having a law enforcement officer there to report the accident findings.
After Reporting the Accident, Contact Your Denver Accident Attorney
After reporting the accident to law enforcement, you can call an experienced Denver accident attorney to help you recover compensation. Your lawyer will deal with the insurance company, fight for a quick and fair settlement offer, and make sure you get the maximum compensation available in your case to cover car repairs and medical bills. Contact us today for a free consultation.