Do You Need to Report a Minor Car Accident to the Police in Colorado?
Whether you need to report an accident is often obvious. Someone has been injured, a driver seems impaired or intoxicated, a motorist has fled the scene. But what about minor accidents in which little or no damage is apparent and nobody seems to be hurt? Do you need to call the police then?
In Colorado, an auto accident is usually considered minor if there are no injuries and property damage is less than $1,000. Even in the case of a minor traffic accident, though, drivers must identify themselves to others involved in the accident, exchange insurance information with them, and help anyone who is injured or in danger.
In general, it’s a good idea to report an accident no matter how minor it is.
- Even when the damage to the vehicles seems minor, it may be worse than it looks.
- The injuries of persons in the accident may be more serious than they seem at first. Some injuries may not become apparent until hours, days, or even weeks after the accident.
- If you call the police, an accident report will be generated. This is a vital record of what happened that may help determine fault.
- Insurance companies routinely request accident reports when processing accident claims.
- Colorado law requires that accidents be reported if the collision resulted in property damage, personal injury, or death. Failing to report an accident in any of these circumstances is a Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense.
In the case of extremely minor traffic accidents, a driver may submit an online accident report to the Colorado Department of Revenue if no police officer was called to the scene. The online report must be completed within 60 days of the accident, but it will not automatically generate an investigation into the circumstances. An investigation will be conducted only if death or injury occurred, individual property damages exceed $1,000, or one of the drivers was unable to show proof of insurance.
What About Crashes That Happen During Accident Alerts?
Colorado’s winter weather conditions are often unpredictable and hazardous. Accident alerts may be issued when law enforcement is inundated with crash reports and cannot respond in person to every call. During such alerts, police officers must respond to the scene of a traffic accident only if a serious injury has occurred; the accident involved a hit-and-run driver; the accident involved alcohol, drugs, or damage to public property; or one or more vehicles involved in the accident have been disabled.
During an accident alert, if you are in an accident that does not meet any of these criteria, you should still report the accident by calling 911. But you may be asked to go to a police station to complete the necessary paperwork at a later date.
Bottom line: all motor vehicle accidents occurring in Colorado, whether major or minor, should be reported to law enforcement. As long you do so, you don’t have to worry about whether you may have violated a legal requirement to report or may be liable for damages caused by another person.
Contact an experienced Colorado auto accident attorney.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an apparently minor Colorado motor vehicle accident, contact the Law Offices of Daniel R. Rosen online or call 303-454-8000 or 800-ROSEN-911 to schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney today.