Should You Report a Minor Car Accident?
According to the Colorado State Patrol, there are about 27,187 traffic accidents each year in Colorado. But only 13 percent of crashes result in an injury. That means most accidents involve only property damage.
You may know that you’re supposed to report a car accident to the police. But do the same rules apply when it’s a minor accident? An experienced team of Denver car accident attorneys encourages everyone to report an accident. Here’s what you should know about whether to report a minor car accident in Colorado.
Should You Report a Minor Car Accident in Colorado?
Yes, you should report a minor car accident in Colorado. The law requires drivers to report accidents that result in property damage or injury. Although an officer may choose not to write a report for a minor accident, the drivers involved in the crash must still report it to law enforcement as soon as possible.
Rules for Reporting Minor Car Accidents in Colorado
Colorado law 42-4-1606 requires you to make an “immediate” report of any car accident. The law requires you to report any accident that causes injury or property damage. Of course, every accident involves one or the other. The law even clarifies that you have to make a report for any injury, serious bodily injury, death, or property damage. You must make the report to the nearest police agency.
Today, most people use their cell phone to report a car accident. However, it’s legal to briefly leave the scene of the crash if you have to to make the report. You must make the report in the most immediate way possible. If you leave the scene to make a report, you must return to wait for the police and exchange information with the other driver.
Do the Police Have to Write an Accident Report for Every Colorado Car Accident?
No, the police don’t have to make an accident report for every Colorado car accident case. They may decline to make a report if there are no injuries and the damages don’t appear to be more than $1,000. The police must make a report if one of the parties can’t show proof of insurance.
If your accident doesn’t meet the criteria for the police to have to write a report, they must still write a report if you ask them to. Of course, just because the police don’t have to write a report doesn’t relieve you of your duty to report the accident.
What Are the Penalties for Failing to Report a Car Accident in Colorado?
Failing to report a car accident in Colorado is a class two misdemeanor traffic offense. You may spend up to 90 days in jail and pay a fine of up to $300. If you fail to report an accident and someone is injured, your offense is a more serious class one misdemeanor offense. If the injury is severe, you may face a class four felony. If someone dies and you fail to report the accident, you may face class three felony charges.
Is It a Good Idea to Report a Minor Accident?
There are many reasons that it’s a good idea to report a minor accident. Even though it’s necessary just to comply with the law, there are lots of ways that reporting an accident can help you:
- The police gather evidence of who is at fault for the accident
- With training in accident investigations, the police may know to look for things, ask questions, and gather evidence that you may not think about
- Police officers are trained first responders that can ensure that you don’t have any car accident injuries that need medical attention
- What the other party says may be admissible in court. If they make these statements to you, a jury may not find your testimony about them as credible as if they make the statements to the police officer.
- The police have training in drunk driving investigations. If the other party shows signs of intoxication, the police can conduct a formal investigation.
- It can be awkward to approach the other side after an accident, especially if they’re hostile. The police can help.
- Reporting the accident notes the date and time of the accident
Will the Police Respond If I Report an Accident in Colorado?
In most cases, the police will respond if you report an accident in Colorado. However, the police sometimes make exceptions during severe weather events. When there are a lot of crashes during extreme weather, the police may tell you to come to the police station later to give them the accident information.
What Do I Do If the Police Don’t Respond to My Accident?
If the police don’t respond to your accident, you can submit your own report through the Colorado Department of Revenue Division of Motor Vehicles. You have 60 days from the date of the crash to make your report. The report doesn’t trigger a police investigation, but it documents the fact that an accident occurred for your benefit and statistical purposes.
Benefits of Reporting a Minor Accident in Colorado
Reporting a minor accident in Colorado is important because Colorado is an at-fault state. You may decide to make a legal claim for compensation after even a minor accident like a rear-end collision. It’s essential to gather all of the evidence that you can including establishing that the accident occurred at a specific date and time.
In Colorado, it’s always a good idea to report a car accident to comply with the law and preserve and further your claim for financial compensation. Making a report can be especially helpful in more complex cases like an Uber or Lyft accident or crashes in a company car.
Colorado Attorneys for Car Accidents
Have you been in a car accident? Are you wondering if you have a claim for compensation after a minor car accident? We can help.
At Bachus & Schanker, our team of Colorado car accident attorneys can help you with any car accident claim. Whether your accident is large or small, our attorneys are serious about helping you get the compensation that you deserve. We invite you to call our legal team to discuss your case and start the process to get the justice that you deserve. It’s important to work quickly to ensure you meet Colorado’s statute of limitations. Call us today.
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