Colorado law sets strict requirements for when traffic accidents need to be reported to local law enforcement authorities. By law, drivers are required to report any traffic crash that causes property damage, injuries or death.1
Since most collisions cause, at the very least, minor property damage, this essentially means that nearly all auto accidents in Colorado should be reported to the local police or sheriff department.
Why Reporting a Car Accident Is Important
There are a few reasons why it’s so critical to report auto accidents as soon as possible after they occur:
- Failing to report a crash can result in criminal charges and penalties – Specifically, failing to report a wreck that causes property damage, injuries or death can be a Class 2 misdemeanor, which may be punishable by fines up to $300 and/or up to 90 days in jail.
- Failing to report can hurt a future claim – The police investigation and report associated with a crash can provide important evidence regarding fault for the accident. If, however, police or sheriffs are not called after a crash, essential evidence regarding liability can be lost. That, in turn, can make it more challenging for victims to secure the full amount of compensation they may be entitled to.
- Failing to report can violate the terms of your insurance policy – Though Colorado law does not require motorists to report crashes to their insurance providers, auto insurance policies typically have strict terms that require policyholders to report accidents (usually within specific deadlines). Consequently, failing to report a crash to an insurer can violate the terms of a policy, possibly allowing insurers to reduce or deny a claim against that policy.
Here, it’s important to also point out that:
- If you are unable to report a car wreck to law enforcement officials immediately after the collision, you can file a report online after the fact with the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles, DMV (here).
- If you did report a car crash to law enforcement authorities, you can request a copy of the official accident report (online here).
5 Tips for Reporting a Car Crash
Clearly, reporting a car accident can be fundamental to complying with the law and the terms of an auto insurance policy. It also can be critical to the success of a future claim.
Given how important this reporting step is, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind whenever it’s time to report a wreck (to police or your insurer):
- Cooperate with investigators and be polite.
- Stick to the facts and only the facts.
- Never guess about the circumstances or causes of the crash. If you are unsure about some detail, do not report or discuss it.
- Never admit blame or apologize for the crash.
- Never make any definitive statements about the extent or severity of your injuries.
Set Your Recovery Up for Success: Contact a Colorado Springs Car Accident Lawyer at Wills Law, P.C.
If you have been injured in an auto wreck, contact Colorado Springs Car Accident Lawyer Wm Andrew “Drew” Wills II for helpful advice regarding your recovery options.
Call (719) 633-8500 or email the firm (via the form on our Contact Page) to schedule a free case evaluation and discover more about your legal options.
With more than 30 years of experience and success with auto accident cases, Attorney Drew Wills II has a deep understanding of how to help injured people successfully navigate the recovery process so they can secure the compensation they deserve.
From offices based in Colorado Springs, Attorney Drew Wills II represents clients throughout El Paso County and Colorado.
1: Complete text of the Colorado Uniform Motor Vehicle Law