No one plans on being in a car accident, but sometimes life throws us these unfortunate curveballs. If you find yourself in this situation in Colorado, knowing what legal obligations you face is essential so you can protect yourself and your potential to recover compensation. One of these requirements revolves around reporting the accident to the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
If a Police Officer Doesn’t File a Report, You Are Responsible For Reporting Accident
In most situations, the police will arrive at an accident scene and speak with you, the other driver, and any witnesses in the area. After this, they will complete an accident report. In this case, you usually don’t have to do anything further as far as the DMV is concerned
If a police officer arrived on scene, you only need to report the accident if you receive a letter in the mail from the department of revenue, which will outline what steps you need to take.
You Must Report if No Police Officer Showed Up
However, the obligation to report an accident to the DMV in Colorado falls on your shoulders if no law enforcement officer shows up and creates a report.
This could happen if the accident took place during an ‘accident alert’ – which is a designated period of bad weather that prohibits authorities from effectively responding to accident scenes
No matter what the reason was, if the police don’t create an accident report, you will have to notify the DMV. Don’t forget to call a car accident lawyer in Colorado Springs to ensure you don’t say something wrong in the report.
How To Report Your Car Accident to The Colorado DMV
When it is deemed necessary to report a car accident to the Colorado DMV, there are two options available. You can either file your crash report online or mail in a hard copy. To file online, you simply go to the DMV website, and it will guide you through the process.
However, some circumstances prevent the use of online reporting. If any of the following events have taken place, you cannot report online
- Someone involved in the accident didn’t have car insurance or had a driver’s license restriction, like a suspension
- There’s a suspicion of drug and alcohol use of an involved driver
- The accident resulted in property damage
- The accident caused injury to any party and it required medical attention
- The accident led to a fatality
- One of the drivers fled the scene (hit-and-run).
In all of these cases, online reporting is not allowed. The Colorado DMV orders that anyone involved in one of these situations contact the law enforcement agency where the accident occurred and wait for them to give further instructions.
The Importance of Accident Reports For Legal Claims
Filing an accident report plays a critical role in legal claims after car accidents. It provides valuable insights that can significantly shape the outcome of your claim. Here’s why it’s so important:
Provides an Official and Objective Record
An accident report provides verifiable, official information about key aspects of the accident, such as date, time, and location of the accident. It also details the conditions of the scene and other relevant details.
Identifies Involved Parties
The accident report lists everyone involved – drivers, passengers, even witnesses – providing their contact information and insurance details which can become central during legal proceedings.
May Contain Diagrams of Accident Scene
Accident reports will sometimes contain diagrams or sketches that depict the accident, clearly showing elements such as road conditions, traffic signs and signals, and positions of involved vehicles before and after impact. These can play an instrumental role in figuring out what happened and potentially helping to determine fault.
Understanding the guidelines for reporting accidents to the Colorado DMV is essential; it’s not just about complying with the legal rules within your state, but it also ensures you’re prepared for any insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits going forward.
If you’ve been in an accident and have questions or need help, don’t hesitate to contact Green Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation.