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How to Report an Accident

If you find yourself in an accident, it’s important to make sure you take the appropriate steps to ensure you can get the most compensation from insurance in addition to holding the other party fully accountable based on his or her actions.

According to Colorado law, when you’re involved in a car accident, you are required to report the crash to local authorities as soon as you possibly can. Not only is this the law, but it will also help ensure that a complete and thorough investigation can take place. Additionally, the police will give you the documentation you need to file an insurance claim.

Though being involved in an accident is nerve-wracking and stressful, here are some crucial steps you should take immediately after a crash takes place.

Car with a broken headlight

Call 9-1-1

Once you have gotten yourself and your passengers out of immediate danger, the next step should be to call 9-1-1 for help. Even if the accident is minor, calling authorities is a must. Typically help will arrive in a matter of minutes. Calling 9-1-1 will help get a prompt investigation underway and ensure that the scene of the accident can be reviewed completely. Delaying could allow time for conditions to change before police can document them, potentially lessening the strength of your claim when you submit it to insurance.

While waiting for law enforcement or other emergency responders, be sure to review what you believe to have happened, jot down important facts, take photos of the accident, and even talk with other witnesses if you are safely able to. You’ll also want to take note of whether or not you believe the other party violated any traffic laws such as running a red light or speeding excessively.

Call a Non-Emergency Line

If you are involved in only a minor accident, you should still call the proper authorities, but you may consider asking for a non-emergency line through 9-1-1 to avoid tying up limited resources. The non-emergency line will route you to the proper authorities and ensure you are helped promptly.

Report the Accident Online

While you should absolutely call in the accident while you’re at the scene of the crash, you should also report your accident online to the Colorado State Police when possible. Reporting your accident online won’t initiate an investigation, but it will give you easy access to records you’ll need when filing an insurance claim. The more evidence you can report, the better, especially as your claims progress to the point of potentially rewarding compensation.

Reporting online should not be used as a substitute for calling in the crash in person, but it offers you extra resources when you process your claim.  If you do call authorities immediately after the accident but the dispatcher informs you that officers are unable to respond for any reason – severe weather conditions, for example – filing your own report online is crucial.

After reporting your claim in person and online, be sure to contact law enforcement to request a copy of your police report. Obtaining a report as soon as possible is very important for insurance purposes and having it on your person will help move the process along quickly.