Fort Collins: What Is the Fort Collins Police Crash Team and What Do They Do?
The Fort Collins Police Department is one of many police departments nationwide that has specialized units experienced in serious automobile accidents. These units are made up of highly experienced officers and professionals that are trained in what to look for following a severe or fatal crash.
If you are injured or lose a loved one in an automobile accident, it’s essential to have a comprehensive analysis of what occurred in order to support any legal action you may take. Following an auto accident that results in serious injury or a fatality, having a team of officers like the CRASH team unit to survey, analyze, and document the scene can prove invaluable to building a legal case against any negligent parties.
What Is the Fort Collins Police Crash Team
Under department policy 503, the Fort Collins Police Department offers the experience of the Collision Reconstruction And Scene Handling Team, or the CRASH Team as it’s commonly known. The CRASH Team is ready to serve in cases where serious injury or a fatality has occurred due to a traffic accident.
This specialized unit is composed of highly trained officers who work to reconstruct, investigate, and assess the events following the most severe crashes. The victim who suffers an injury does not necessarily have to be a driver or passenger in a motor vehicle. The CRASH Team can be dispatched to accidents where a victim is a pedestrian or bicyclist.
With the use of advanced traffic accident investigation techniques and dedicated police work, CRASH Team officers and officials determine how an accident likely unfolded. These officers also have advanced knowledge of the best traffic control techniques in order to help preserve a scene immediately following an accident.
Some of the duties that officers with the CRASH Team will be responsible for include the following:
- Collecting evidence both on-site and off-site related to a traffic accident.
- Collecting witness statements from all individuals involved in the accident and bystander witnesses.
- Reconstructing traffic accidents.
- Preparing formal reports that detail the events of the accident to proceed with criminal prosecution.
- Filing criminal charges.
- Working alongside other agencies assigned to a scene.
- Providing training to other officers in crash investigations.
After an on-duty supervisor requests or approves the involvement of the CRASH Team, these specialized officers will deploy to the accident scene and begin their investigation.
Although the CRASH Team responds to automotive accidents where severe injury or a fatality may have occurred, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the victims involved must have been drivers or passengers of an automotive accident. The CRASH Team can deploy in a variety of situations, including the following:
- Pedestrian Accident
- Bicyclist accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Drunk driving accident
- Multi-vehicle accident
Not all accidents will require the involvement of the Fort Collins CRASH Team. Members of the team will respond if their expertise can prove beneficial to enhance the investigation results of a major car accident.
Typically, CRASH Team deployment is reserved for automobile accidents where serious, violent injuries occur or when a fatality has occurred. Additionally, the CRASH Team will also respond to the following types of accidents:
- All accidents involving trains when there is substantial damage that has occurred.
- Traffic accidents where a city vehicle is involved and serious bodily injury or a fatality may have occurred.
- Traffic accidents where there are multiple vehicles involved, unusual circumstances, rollovers, and other scenarios in which a specialized team of police officers may be needed.
- Any other scenario in which a field supervisor deems the technical expertise of the CRASH Team might be beneficial.
There may be unique circumstances in which a pedestrian injury may warrant the response of the CRASH Team, as pedestrian accidents account for a growing number of automotive-related injuries. Recent data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety highlights that these accidents are on the rise, with rural areas being hit the hardest.
For example, in early January of 2023, an adult male was the victim of a hit-and-run collision at the intersection of Suniga Road and Redwood Street while crossing the street. The vehicle that hit the pedestrian did not stop after striking him.
The Fort Collins Police CRASH Team responded and took over the investigation because it was determined that their expertise could better help identify how the pedestrian may have been hit. In addition to assessing how the pedestrian was struck, they were able to determine which direction the vehicle may have gone. The CRASH Team eventually narrowed down the likely vehicle and what type of damage it may have sustained.
Specialized units like the Fort Collins Police CRASH Tam can prove invaluable in helping collect the necessary evidence to help support not only criminal charges but a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit.
- If you were injured in a car accident in Fort Collins, you may be able to recover compensation regardless of if you were a driver, passenger, or pedestrian. The compensation you can seek depends on the circumstances of the car accident, the severity of your injuries, and your overall losses.
Both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits can seek economic, non-economic and, in some cases, punitive damages.
Economic damages refer to calculable losses that result from a car accident. These economic damages are designed to restore you to your standing before the accident occurred. Examples of economic damages can include but are not limited to the following:
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning potential
- Hospital bills and ongoing medical treatment
- Loss of property, including the damage to your vehicle or other personal property
Non-economic damages refer to losses that cannot be monetarily calculated. Unlike economic damages, these damages are not designed to restore you to your original standing but to compensate you for having experienced the injury. Examples of non-economic damages can include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of Consortium
- Mental anguish and trauma
- Other intangible losses
In certain circumstances, punitive damages may be awarded and may total more than compensatory damages. Like economic or non-economic damages, punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant so as not to repeat the negligent behavior. Punitive damages can also serve as a warning to other defendants as well.
If you’ve suffered an injury because of a car accident that was due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering, and tangible losses. Working with an experienced Fort Collins Car Accident Attorney can better equip you to navigate your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Bachus & Schanker’s car accident attorneys are ready to help you when you need it most.