If you are involved in a car accident or motor vehicle accident in Fort Collins or in Larimer County (or anywhere in Colorado for that matter), you must report your accident immediately. Again, Colorado law requires that all motor vehicle accidents must be reported immediately:
If your accident is in Larimer County, then the Sheriff’s office is not a primary reporting agency for motor vehicle accidents, unless the accident takes place in the Town of Wellington or the Town of Berthoud. https://www.larimer.
What do you do when involved in a Car Accident in Fort Collins?
- Determine if there are any injuries (however minor they may seem) or damage to any property, such as to each car involved or to any private or public property. If so, then you must report the accident to the nearest police agency. If there are no injuries or property damage, then you may file a report online or personally at the Fort Collins Police Department.
- Call 911 or your local police agency (this is always good advice no matter how minor the accident may seem to you). If the accident occurred in Loveland, the Loveland Police may be reached at (970) 667-2151, in Timnath at (970) 224-3211, in Estes Park at (970) 586-4000, and if you would like to reach the Colorado State Patrol, call (970) 224-3027.
- Your report must be made within 3 days of the date of the accident. Again, online or counter reports may be made when there is no personal injury, no drugs or alcohol involved.
- If the police come to the scene of your motor vehicle crash, then they normally will fill out an accident report when they return to their offices. You can then request a copy of your motor vehicle accident report when it is finished.
- Make sure your injuries, no matter how minor they may seem to you, get treated at the scene of the accident, either by paramedics or via ambulance to the local Emergency Room. Your adrenaline will be pumping 100 miles per hour and this will mask your injuries and pain, so it is always best to get medical treatment right away.
- If you are able, take out your cellphone and take photos of the cars involved, especially the damage to all vehicles. Take photos of your immediate injuries if they are visible to the naked eye.
- If you are able, exchange information with the other driver or drivers. Take a photo of their insurance card and driver’s license with your cellphone. If you do not have a cellphone (which is rare these days), write down all the information on a piece of paper, making sure to get the other driver’s insurance company name, policy number, and phone number as well as the other driver’s driver’s license number and address, phone number.
What will the Fort Collins Police do after they arrive on the scene?
- Do not get into a yelling match with the other driver.
- Let the Police officer(s) perform his or her investigation.
- Calmly and rationally explain how the accident happened (to the police officer).
- Ask the police officer if he or she will be issuing any traffic citations.
- Get your accident report number from the police officer.
- Follow up with the Fort Collins Police Department in a week or so to see if your accident report is ready. You can call the records department at (970) 221-6540 to check on your report status.
- Once your report is ready, you can request a copy online or by walking into the Fort Collins Police Department located at 2221 South Timberline Road, Fort Collins, CO 80525.
- Here is a link to all telephone numbers at the Fort Collins Police Department: City of Fort Collins Police Services phone numbers.
What is the benefit of reporting your car accident?
Colorado law determines negligence and fault. If you report the accident, the police officer will normally make an investigation and determination into fault by giving the at-fault driver a traffic citation. Let’s say the at-fault driver slams into the rear of your car. In this situation, normally the police officer will ticket the driver who slammed into you for “Careless Driving.” A driver who strikes you in the rear is presumed to be at-fault (unless there are extreme circumstances explaining why he hit you in the rear).
Most insurance companies will accept liability if the police officer issues a ticket to their insured. In other words, the insurance company knows that the officer was at the scene, took witness and driver statements, took photos and/or measurements and is in the best position to determine fault. Thus, if you have an accident report placing blame on the other driver, then you almost always win on liability or fault.
Are there any penalties for failing to report an accident in Colorado?
Yes. If you fail to report a car accident in Fort Collins (or anywhere in Colorado), you are violating Colorado law. It is a class 2 misdemeanor in Colorado to fail to report your car accident. You could spend up to 90 days in jail and be fined $300. If someone is injured, and you fail to report the accident, then you could be convicted of a Class 1 Misdemeanor. If a severe injury is involved, then you could be convicted of a class 4 felony. And if death is involved, then you could be charged with a class 3 felony.
Contact Allen Accident Law for help
If you need help obtaining your motor vehicle accident report or have any questions on this topic, please feel free to contact Allen Accident Law or call (970) 364-6830. I can get the settlement that you deserve and will fight for you against the insurance company.
I have more than 22 years of experience solely in the area of personal injury law and car accident law. I live and work in Fort Collins and am a proud member of the Fort Collins community. Learn more.