Posted in Car Accident on June 14, 2023
Car accidents can be a traumatizing experience for everyone involved, and it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and unsure about what to do next.
As a result, the thought of reporting the accident can slip away from you.
Unfortunately, not reporting a car accident can have serious consequences that may impact you legally and financially down the line as your car accident lawyer will have a much more difficult task of getting you fair compensation if no police report exists.
In most cases, Colorado drivers are required to report an accident to law enforcement officials if any of the following are present in a crash:
You may report a collision by calling 911 or going directly to the closest police or highway patrol station. If the police don’t respond to the scene, you may file an accident report online through the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles. Filing an accident report through the DMV is less favorable, as you won’t have a police officer present to fairly evaluate the accident.
Reporting a car accident allows law enforcement to assess the scene and document what happened. The responding police officer will create an official report of the accident, which will include key information such as the date and time of the accident, statements from drivers and witnesses, contact information for any parties involved, and more.
If you decide to file a claim for personal injury or property damage against the other driver’s insurance provider, your official accident report can be an invaluable piece of evidence used to prove your case. The details of the report can show a clear picture of the events leading up to and during the accident, which can make it more difficult for the other party to deny fault.
Additionally, if the other driver attempts to file an erroneous claim against you, the report can protect you from undeserved liability and any resulting financial consequences.
When a car accident isn’t reported to the police, it can be challenging to determine who was at fault and who should be held responsible for damages. This can greatly complicate insurance claims. There’s no official record of what happened, so insurers and attorneys will have little to go off of other than the less-reliable personal statements of the drivers and witnesses.
Insurance companies may deny claims if they believe the accident wasn’t promptly reported. They may also use the lack of a police report to assert that the accident didn’t happen or that the injuries sustained weren’t related to the accident. This can hurt your chances of receiving compensation for any injuries or damages you sustained.
You could also face criminal charges if you neglect to report a car accident. Failing to report an accident when required under the law is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense that carries criminal penalties such as jail time and fines.
In some cases, failing to report a car accident may be considered a hit-and-run. A hit-and-run involves fleeing the scene of an accident without stopping to exchange information or check on the well-being of any involved individuals.
Depending on the circumstances of the offense, this crime could be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, both of which carry heavy penalties. Fleeing the scene of an accident also significantly increases the odds that you’ll be considered liable for damages — even if the other driver was actually at fault for the accident.
Reporting the accident should be a priority in the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle collision. Once that’s done and you’ve received any necessary medical care, your best course of action is to consult a Denver car accident lawyer with Zaner Harden Law.
When you turn to us after being involved in a car accident, we’ll help you understand your legal rights and determine if you have a claim for compensation. From there we can provide advice on how to proceed. If we mutually agree to move forward with a claim, we’ll use evidence such as the police report to build a strong case on your behalf.