When people are involved in Denver area car crashes, it’s a common first step to call the local police to the scene of the accident. Anytime an accident involves drivers under the influence, personal injuries, significant damage, road obstacles that prevent the flow of moving traffic, or confrontations among accident participants, it’s important to summon a police officer to ensure these emergency situations are handled properly.
After a police officer makes certain that everyone present at an accident scene is in no immediate danger, they will begin evaluating the scene to gather information for their eventual accident report. Police accident reports typically include important details about an accident, any participants or eyewitnesses, and official opinions regarding the contributing factors and direct causes of the accident.
If your vehicle was seriously damaged or you sustained significant injuries, and you need to file an insurance claim, the information contained in a police report can provide crucial evidence for your case.
In the article below, The Sawaya Law Firm discusses the reasons you need a police report, how you can get one, and what other steps you should take after your Denver car accident. Call us anytime, 24/7 to find out more in a free and confidential consultation.
Why You Need a Police Report After an Accident
If you were involved in a Colorado car accident due to the negligence of one or more other drivers, your first step will likely be to file a claim with the at-fault drivers’ insurance providers. When you file this type of claim, insurance adjusters often require you to provide a copy of the accident report if they do not obtain it on their own.
Police accident reports and investigation reports, which are more detailed and typically unavailable until after the police have completed their investigations, generally contain some or all of the following information:
- The date, time, and location of the accident, as well as a diagram of the collision
- Contact and insurance information for everyone involved in the crash
- Contact information for eyewitnesses to the accident
- Statements from investigating officers, involved parties, and eyewitnesses
- The location and nature of vehicle damage caused by the accident
- The weather, lighting, and road conditions at the accident scene
- Any traffic law violations or citations issued in relation to the accident
- Official police opinion regarding the cause of the accident and who was at fault
- Notes from detectives and any scanned images related to the case
Whether or not any insurance adjusters directly request a police accident report, it’s a good idea for you to consider obtaining one. Many car accident cases can get complicated quickly. In some cases, claims adjusters may not agree with law enforcement’s opinions about the causes of a particular collision.
The independent and unbiased assessment contained in a police accident report can be a valuable asset to your claim if any details or fault determinations are called into question. However, it is important to remember that the police do not have final say about civil fault and liability for a crash.
How to Get One at the Scene of the Accident
When you are involved in a car accident, your main focus should be on your health. Many vehicle collisions leave crash victims with serious injuries that require emergency medical attention, so be sure to seek treatment as soon as possible if you suffer severe or life-threatening harm. That being said, if you’re able to remain at the scene of your accident after you crash, it’s a good idea to begin thinking about your legal rights immediately.
While police accident reports may take several weeks to complete following Colorado car crashes, you can still take action by speaking with investigating officers at the scene of your accident. Before police officers leave the scene, they will usually offer you a paper slip with basic information about your accident, including the identification number assigned to the accident report they will compose.
How to Get a Police Report After the Accident
There are a few different ways to acquire a police report after your Denver car accident. If you don’t know or can’t recall the ID number assigned to your accident report, you should be able to locate it using your name and the date, time, and location of the crash.
To obtain a paid report directly from the Denver Police Department’s (DPD’s) Record Unit, you will need to submit an order form, either by phone, online, or via mail, and will also need to pay a $10 administrative fee.
In your request, you will need to provide the following information:
- Your name, address, phone number, and email address
- The date, time, and location of your accident
- The nature of your involvement in the accident
- Your accident report number, if available
- The names of the reporting police officer and any other involved parties
- The license plate number and issuing state of your vehicle
- Any other information you can provide about the accident
You may also obtain more detailed investigation reports or related media, such as 911 call transcripts or surveillance video footage, at an additional cost. The DPD Record Unit charges $15 for the first 10 pages of investigation reports and then 25 cents for any additional pages.
In some cases, you might be able to acquire your police accident report for free. You can ask your own insurance company whether they requested the report for their records, and then ask if they will provide you with a copy, which could save you time and money.
Next Steps If You’ve Been in a Car Accident in Denver
In addition to obtaining an accident report, you should also consider the following next steps if you’ve been involved in a Denver car accident:
- Gather contact and insurance information from anyone else involved in the crash.
- Document everything you remember about the accident and take photographs of the scene, your vehicle damage, and any visible injuries.
- Seek prompt medical attention for any injuries, no matter how minor they seem at first, and follow the advice of your treating physician.
- Keep a record of all expenses you incur as a result of your accident, including medical bills, vehicle repairs, and missed time at work.
- Consult with a knowledgeable Colorado car accident attorney to learn more about your options.
At The Sawaya Law Firm, we have more than 40 years of experience helping injured individuals and struggling families in Denver and throughout Colorado. We treat our clients like family while never losing sight of our mission to pursue real, satisfying results for injured victims who deserve justice.
For your free consultation with our compassionate team, call us now or contact us online.