According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in the United States. Regrettably, this is also the case in our state, where the number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes has continued to rise since 2011 [1]. In 2020 alone there were 574 fatal motor vehicle crashes in Colorado, resulting in 622 deaths [2].

If you have been the victim of an accident, it is important to bear in mind that there are important time limits within which you must file a car accident claim. At the same time, you should have sufficient evidence to support your claim so that you can get the compensation you rightly deserve.

Generally speaking, Colorado law requires you to make an “immediate” report to the police of any car accident that causes injury and/or property damage [3]. If for any reason it is impossible to do so, you must file an online report with the Colorado DMV within 60 days of the accident [4]. Making sure that you have a police report for the accident is critical in terms of filing and successfully pursuing an injury claim, as insurance companies won’t accept your claim for personal injury without one.

Just as you need to act very quickly in terms of reporting your accident, you should also start collecting evidence immediately after it, as this will be the foundation of your personal injury claim. The fact alone that you were in a car accident and brought forth a lawsuit doesn’t guarantee that you will receive compensation unless you are able to produce sufficient evidence to support your case.

Documenting and pursuing a personal injury claim for a car accident is by no means an easy task and it can take anywhere from days to several weeks to put together. As in all personal injury cases, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a car accident attorney that has experience in dealing with such claims.

Required Proof

Whether you will be seeking compensation from a car insurance company or in a civil lawsuit, you will have to prove several things:

  • That the other driver involved was negligent.
  • That you sustained injuries that were a result of said negligence.
  • That these injuries caused you to suffer damages.
  • That these damages are quantifiable, meaning you will need to prove the sum of their cost.

Therefore, to prevail in a car accident case you should act quickly and efficiently and gather all necessary information as fast as possible.

Dealing with insurance companies is hardly ever a pleasant experience. Indeed, it is expected that insurers will go out of their way to reduce their liability for claim payouts. If they think they can get away with it, they might even try to force you to accept a lowball settlement or attempt to unfairly deny you coverage. This is where having an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, who will be familiar with and unfazed by such tactics, can prove to be a valuable asset.

Our team at Legal Help in Colorado has precisely the kind of knowledge, experience, and attitude you need to deal with this type of scenario, and fight on your behalf toward the best possible outcome for your claim.

Body of Evidence

Each case is unique, so the proof you will need to submit will vary depending on the facts and circumstances of your particular accident. Even so, attorneys will generally request and rely upon certain key categories of evidence that typically apply in every case to establish liability.

Some of these include the following.

Physical Evidence

This can take many forms and may include various types of damaged property at the scene of the crash, as well as any objects and items that may have played part in the accident, such as various types of debris, damaged traffic signs, trees, etc.

Photos

One of the most valuable categories of evidence when it comes to car accident cases is the photographic material you will be able to present.

To this end, you should gather as many clear photos of the accident site and surrounding environment as you can, from various angles. If possible, do so before the vehicles are taken out of the traffic’s way. Include details such as any broken glass, damaged tires, skid marks, street signs, stop signs, traffic signals, weather conditions, road conditions, and anything else that may offer a better overview of the scene of the incident.

Moreover, being able to submit photographs of any damage caused to property, including damage to your car, as well as detailed shots of your injuries, will be critical for supporting your case.

It would also be very helpful if you can capture the details of any other elements that may have contributed to the incident, such as oil spills, obstructions to the road, and so on.

Lastly, you should also try to take photographs of the surrounding area, as well as of the license plates of all vehicles involved in your accident.

Video Footage

Almost everyone now has a smartphone with video capturing possibilities. This, combined with traffic and other security cameras present on nearby premises, make video footage one of the most valuable sources of evidence in car accident cases.

Try and find any video footage that may be available, as this is one of the best ways to show how your accident occurred. This may also prove to be essential evidence in proving negligence, as video evidence is extremely persuasive. Start collecting video footage as soon as possible, bearing in mind that video data is not stored forever: public entities must observe laws dictating how long they may keep video storage; private owners will often overwrite video data after a short while, and camera equipment may have automatic overwriting or erasure settings.

Witness Testimony

Following an accident, it is crucial that you spot any witnesses present at the scene and make sure to note their names and contact information. Witness testimony is often a key factor in car accident cases and can be invaluable in terms of helping you prove your claim.

To acquire witness statements, it is important that you have the necessary reflexes to identify and approach them following your accident. When they issue statements, it is also vital to make sure that they include all necessary details relating to the facts of the incident that will help you confirm what actually happened and support your case. In this respect, witness testimony is most powerful if it includes information on the cause of the accident, the actions of those involved in it, details on any contributing factors to the crash, and a description of any damages they were able to observe.

The Police Report

Different people involved in a car crash, including eyewitnesses, may have conflicting stories about what happened. This can make it hard to get to the truth of what actually happened.

Police officers are trained to assess vehicle crash scenes in order to determine what must have happened. When they respond to such scenes and compile their report, they are called to lay out the facts of the collision in impartial terms. Therefore, their report is often a valuable piece of evidence that may, in certain cases, end up carrying more weight than witness testimonies.

Medical Documentation

Medical records concerning your accident-related injuries are vital when you wish to pursue a personal injury action. Indeed, if you can’t produce medical documentation confirming that your injuries are the direct result of the defendant’s negligence, you won’t be able to put forward a viable claim. Therefore it is imperative that you get your hands on your medical records, including bills for medical care received, as soon as possible after your accident.

Insurance companies will do everything they can to make it seem like your accident injuries were old ones, in an effort to make your insurance claim as small as possible. Therefore, related medical evidence needs to be as exact and detailed as possible.

Vehicle Damage Particulars

The obvious property damage after a car crash is what was sustained by your vehicle. In order to receive compensation for it, you will need to gather all relevant records, including receipts related to car repairs, car rentals, and so on, that you had to pay following the accident. Additionally, you should put together any receipts concerning repairs or improvements that you may have made to your car shortly before the accident, such as new tires, the addition of expensive mechanical equipment, etc., as these could be used towards raising the value assigned to your vehicle.

Documentation

In addition to the above, it is necessary that you do your part—to the best of your ability, obviously—to document the incident. For example, try to record the name, contact details, driver’s license number, vehicle plate numbers, and insurance policy information of the at-fault driver as soon as possible following your accident. Likewise, once you are in a position to do so, make some notes of the timeline of the incident in as much detail as you can.

Contact Legal Help in Colorado

At such stressful times, when your main focus should be on your healing, getting an accurate assessment of your claim and having someone ensure that everything that is required is investigated, collected, and filed in a timely and efficient manner is invaluable.

Ross Ziev and his team at Legal Help in Colorado are committed to assisting all injury victims and we treat each consultation with confidentiality. Moreover, you won’t have to pay us any fees until you recover your compensation.

Contact Legal Help in Colorado online for a free consultation, call us at (303) 351-2567, or visit our offices at 6795 E. Tennessee Ave. #210, Denver, CO, 80224, and find out how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

References

[1] https://www.codot.gov/safety/safetydata/colorado-problem-identification-id-reports/2019-problem-id-report

[2] Data published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) at

https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/state-by-state

[3] 2016 Colorado Revised Statutes § 42-4-1606

https://law.justia.com/codes/colorado/2016/title-42/regulation-of-vehicles-and-traffic/article-4/part-16/section-42-4-1606

[4] https://dmv.colorado.gov/report-accident