You must report your accident to the DMV in Colorado, unless the responding police officer has already filed it. It’s important to understand the criteria for reporting and how to do it.
When must I report my accident to the DMV?
More than likely, when law enforcement responds to an accident, you don’t have to worry about filing a report. However, if you receive a letter from the DMV requesting one then you must submit the appropriate form specified in the letter.
If law enforcement isn’t present at the crash, you are responsible for filing the report right away. You will also need to file if the crash occurred during an accident alert, which is when weather conditions prevent law enforcement from responding.
How do I report my accident to the DMV?
The Colorado State Patrol allows you to mail the report or file it online if you meet certain criteria. These criteria are that the accident must not have resulted in a fatality or injury (to anyone) that required medical attention. Also, there must not have been damage to public property (except wildlife) and it wasn’t a hit and run.
You can’t file online if one of the drivers involved in the accident didn’t have insurance or had a license violation (such as a suspension). Also, if there’s suspicion of drug or alcohol impairment with any of the involved drivers, you can’t file the report online.
If the accident doesn’t meet the criteria to mail or file the report online, you must contact the appropriate law enforcement agency. That depends on the jurisdiction where the crash took place. They will advise you on the next steps to take.
How do I get a copy of the accident report and how can it help with a claim?
Send a written request to the DMV, with the following information included:
- mailing address;
- driver’s license number;
- date of the accident; and
- name of city and county where it took place.
You will also need to submit payment. A certified copy costs $2.70 and $2.20 for a regular copy. Also note that accident reports are available within one week if investigated by the Colorado State Patrol. Otherwise it can take up to eight weeks.
Accident reports can help establish fault if they show the other driver received a citation. It may have been the direct cause (or a contributing factor) in the accident. For instance, if the driver received a citation for excessive speeding this indicates recklessness. If the driver got a ticket for texting, this also indicates negligence. The report may also provide suggestions of one of the driver’s fault.
Of course, the police report is just one important piece of evidence. If you suffered serious injuries, you will need more than that to build a strong case.
Other ways to establish fault include:
- statements from witnesses;
- photographs of the damaged vehicles; and
- photos of the accident scene.
It’s also critical to seek legal advice. An attorney can help not only prove liability but can help establish the severity and extent of injuries and damages. This will help determine the types of compensation that may be recoverable.
If you were in an accident in the Aurora area, call D.J. Banovitz at 303-300-5060 to set up a consultation about your case.