If you’ve been in an accident in the Denver area, you probably called the police to the scene. Police should be called any time an accident occurs where:
- There are injuries to accident participants or bystanders;
- The accident caused a traffic blockage or is presenting a public safety risk;
- Any of the drivers involved are under the influence; or
- The accident participants are being rowdy, disruptive, or fighting.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of having a police accident report, and how to obtain yours after an accident in Denver.
At the Accident Scene
When an accident occurs and the police are dispatched to the scene, the very first thing the police officers will do is move everyone to safety if possible. They will assess the injuries they see and will call for paramedics if necessary. They will secure the accident scene with tape, plastic cones, or road flares to ensure the preservation of evidence.
Next, they will begin assessing the accident scene. They will note the location, date, and time that the accident occurred, as well as gather contact information from everyone involved at the accident scene, including drivers, passengers, and eyewitnesses. Vehicle identification such as license plate numbers will be recorded as well as potential causes of the accident. The officer will describe the injuries that are immediately apparent due to the accident and any property damage that the vehicles show. They may also take pictures of the accident scene, vehicles involved, and injuries. If they suspect any driver of alcohol or drug use, they may conduct a field sobriety test.
After the Accident
After the accident scene is cleared, the officer may conduct additional research into the accident, which might include visiting the hospital to interview participants of the accident and check on those who were injured. After this follow-up is completed, the officer or officers will return to the police station to write up their formal accident report. When this report has been completed, you will definitely want to obtain a copy, as it will prove instrumental to your personal injury case.
Please note that in Denver, if there is an Accident Alert declared, police officers may not be able to respond due to the volume of accidents at the time, or when weather conditions are dangerously prohibitive. You should call 911 to talk to a dispatcher, and if an officer cannot be safely dispatched to your area, all drivers involved in the accident must exchange names, driver’s license info, vehicle registration info, and proof of insurance. You must then file a police report as soon as possible after the accident by visiting your local police station or filing an online report here. It is important to note that accident reports submitted online will not be investigated by law enforcement and are for record-keeping purposes only.
Obtaining Your Accident Report
To obtain your police accident report after your accident in Denver, you may download the Denver Police Department Report Request form and send the form, along with a $10 check or money order, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
Denver Police Department
1331 Cherokee Street, Room 420
Denver, CO 80204-2787
Alternatively, you may include your email address on your request form, and the form will be emailed to you.
You may also obtain a police report in Denver by submitting an online request here. You will be asked a few questions and have to fill out the information on the form before an accident report will be sent to you.
If you have questions regarding your police accident report, you may contact the Denver Police Department Records Unit by calling (720) 913-6755.
The Importance of the Police Report in Your Personal Injury Claim
After you have filed a personal injury claim with the negligent party’s insurance company, their claims adjuster may request a copy of the police report from you, or they may obtain it themselves from the police department. Keep a copy of the police report in your records to show your personal injury attorney.
The police officer may or may not have assigned fault for the accident in your accident report. Even if who was at fault for the accident is obvious in the report, the insurance claims adjuster still must investigate your claim, because police officers are human and make mistakes. Claims adjusters will often find something a police officer missed, but in general, the accident report is the most important document used to determine who was at fault for the accident. It is an important, unbiased, third-party assessment of what happened at the accident scene, and is vital information to support your claim.
The claims adjuster may disagree with the police officer’s assessment of the accident and who they believe was at fault. If your case goes to court as a civil lawsuit, the police accident report should weigh strongly with the jury in deciding who was at fault in the accident.
If, after obtaining your accident report, you believe that there are errors in the report, you must immediately contact a skilled, experienced personal injury attorney such as the attorneys at Marathon Law.
If you find that the police report doesn’t include a determination of who was at fault in the accident, you and your attorney will need to gather additional evidence to support your claim. Your attorney will request information from you so that they have the information they need to contact and interview eyewitnesses, review medical bills and treatment plans, and look at photographs and videos that were taken at the scene. All of this can be used as evidence to reinforce and strengthen your claim.
Let Us Help
After an accident, you have a lot to think about. The process of filing a claim and gathering evidence can be overwhelming. We’d like to invite you to our office for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our attorneys can assess your case and help you through the process of a personal injury claim or civil lawsuit. Call Marathon Law today at 303-704-1222 or contact us online here.