If you have been involved in a car crash in Colorado, there are certain steps you should take right away to ensure your legal rights are protected throughout your case. One such step is to report your accident as soon as you are able.
Steps to Take Right after an Accident
In the moments following a collision, you should call the police to report the crash and ask to have an officer come to the scene. As soon as you are able, you should also call your insurance company to let them know about the crash. You may have insurance coverage that will provide benefits to you and your passengers, even when the collision is not your fault.
If, for some reason, the police cannot come to the scene of the crash, you have 60 days to file an accident report at the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles website. To file a report online, you fill out the requested information at the “Report an Accident” section of the Colorado DMV website.
What Colorado Law Requires
Those involved in accidents in Colorado have a duty to report an accident to the police if:
- There are injuries
- There is property damage
- The other party is not in a condition to exchange information and a law enforcement officer is not present
Colorado law says that “immediate notice” is required. Therefore, it is best to always call 911 right after an accident to ensure you comply with the law.
Why Is It Better to Have Police Complete an Accident Report?
When it is time to deal with the insurance companies on your claim, having an accident report that was prepared by the police is always better than filing an online report. The officers will interview all parties involved and take statements and contact information from witnesses. The information collected by police can be crucial if a dispute occurs during the insurance claim process.
In addition, many officers today wear body cams that record their interviews during crash investigations. If you notice that the investigating officers are wearing body cams, you should make a note of this so the videos can be requested. Bodycam videos are not kept indefinitely, so be sure to request the videos as soon as possible after your crash.
The Statute of Limitations in Colorado Personal Injury Claims
The statute of limitations is the deadline by which legal claims must be filed in order to pursue legal action. If a claimant fails to file a case by this deadline, the claimant is forever barred from recovering damages for his or her injuries. The claimant will be solely responsible for all medical bills and other expenses related to the accident.
In Colorado, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit after a motor vehicle accident is, in most cases, three years. Claims against government entities proceed a bit differently, however.
If a car crash claim is against a government entity, the claimant has 182 days to file an initial claim against the entity, and three years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file a proper notice of claim with the governmental entity, your claim will be forever barred. It is not enough for the entity or their insurance company to acknowledge your claim.
You must strictly follow the notice requirements of the Colorado Governmental Immunity Statute. Government entities include individuals driving government-owned vehicles, police departments, city bus companies like RTDand similar organizations..
Do Not Delay in Filing a Legal Claim
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision, you need to seek legal advice as soon as possible. It is important to provide the insurance company with information concerning your injuries and damages so they can properly adjust your claim.
Additionally, the longer you wait to file a claim, the more difficult it becomes to pursue it. For example, witnesses may move away or may not remember important details.
Moreover, obtaining all of the evidence needed to pursue a personal injury case takes time. If the statute of limitations is rapidly approaching, there may not be enough time for an attorney or insurance adjuster to fully investigate your claim. Your attorney needs sufficient time to review documents, discuss the case with witnesses, and create a legal strategy to ensure you maximize your recovery in your case.
Denver Attorney Jennifer Donaldson is Prepared to Help You with Your Accident Case
Attorney Jennifer Donaldson has an excellent track record in settlement negotiations and in the courtroom. Whether your case settles or goes to trial, our office can help. To schedule a free consultation, contact us at 720-487-1368.