After an accident in Colorado, it’s customary for the drivers to either contact the police or file their own online report. It’s also a requirement that you call your own insurance company to report the accident.
When must the police be contacted?
Colorado law requires that the police must be called after any car accident or vehicle accident that involves an injury (including serious bodily injury or death) to any driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicycle rider – or damage to any vehicle.
The driver must provide (to the other drivers):
- The name of the driver
- The address of the driver
- The registration number of the vehicle the driver operated
Drivers must also, if asked, show their driver’s license to any person the driver struck or the occupant/person who attends any vehicle that was struck. Normally, drivers also provide their insurance information.
Drivers should also, where practical, provide reasonable assistance including helping to arrange for any medical treatment – if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or if the carrying is requested by the injured person.” Alternatively, if the police are called to the scene of the accident, they will arrange for medical help.
If no police officer is called and no person is in a position to receive the information otherwise required – the driver should “immediately report such accident to the nearest office of a duly authorized police authority as required in section 42-4-1606” and submit the required information.
Drivers are required to report any accident to the local police if:
- Any public property is damaged.
- Another driver leaves the scene of the accident – when that driver is required to stop.
- A driver appears to have driven his/her vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
When should a driver file an online car accident report?
Generally, if the accident does not require a call to the police (or the police can’t come to the accident site due to snow or inclement weather), the drivers should file an online accident report using the Colorado Online Crash Reporting System.
According to the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV):
All accidents must be reported immediately. If a police officer responds to the scene and gets all information from the involved parties, the police report satisfies your responsibility. However, if a police officer isn’t involved, you will have to report the accident
To use the online accident report system, the following information must be true:
- The accident didn’t involve any injuries or death
- The accident was not a hit and run accident
- No public property was damaged
- There was no suspicion of any party driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
What is a police accident report?
When the police are called to the scene of the accident they will:
- First, attend to anyone who is injured. Often, the police will arrange for emergency medical assistance or for an ambulance to take an accident victim to a local emergency room or burn center.
- Clear the cars and vehicles from the highway so the occupants can safely exit the cars and so that traffic can continue while the police speak with everyone involved.
- Speak with the drivers, passengers, and witnesses. The police will routinely ask for your driver’s license, registration, and insurance information. They will run background checks to determine if there are any open legal issues.
- If the police suspect a driver was intoxicated or drove under the influence of drugs, the police will conduct field sobriety tests, breath tests, and other tests to determine if a DUI charge is warranted.
- Investigate the cause of the accident. The police will fill out an accident report which includes:
- Information that identifies the drivers, passengers, any other injured people, and any witnesses
- Detail the scene of the accident – such as by detailing how many lanes there were, where the intersections and stop signs were, what the speed limit was, and many other factors.
- Issue citations for any traffic violations such as speeding or driving through a red light.
How do you request a police accident report in Colorado?
The easiest way to obtain a copy of a police accident report is to hire an experienced Colorado car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will understand how to obtain the report through the online portal or directly through the local police report.
Accident report information can be obtained through the Colorado State Patrol (CSP). Anyone, for a fee, can complete a CSP request form for a police accident report. There are few conditions:
The form request is for the basic crash report. According to Colorado law, the identity of any juveniles involved in the accident cannot be released. Instead of completing the online request form, you can:
- Download the request form, complete it, and
- Send it to the Colorado State Patrol via email: email@example.com
- Mail it in, along with payment to the Colorado State Patrol Central Records Unit 700 Kipling St., Lakewood Colorado
- Fax the request and payment form to 303-239-4347.
The basic report does not include witness statements, photos, or other supporting information. Again, your lawyer will know how to request this information from the local police.
Generally, police accident reports are released within 10 days of the date of the request for the report.
How do you request an online accident report in Colorado?
If the police are not required to file a police report or they couldn’t get to the scene of the accident, then the drivers involved in the accident must file their own online accident report with the Colorado State Police. You’ll need to either:
- Ask your lawyer to obtain accident reports filed by drivers
- Request the report through the Colorado Department of Revenue – Department of Motor Vehicles. There is a form you’ll need to fill out. You’ll need to pay the required fee.
Talk to an experienced Colorado car accident lawyer now
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s best to speak with a seasoned personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. We’ll obtain all the accident reports. We’ll also conduct our own investigation through the discovery process and, if necessary, having our investigators go to the accident site and speak with witnesses. At the Law Office of Anna L. Burr, LLC, we file claims against all responsible parties. Many car accident cases can be settled. We’re ready to try your case before a jury when insurance companies are unreasonable. To discuss your car accident case, call us today. You can contact me online or call 720-500-2076 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.