What do the Letters and Numbers Mean on My Police Report?
After finally getting ahold of the accident report issued by an investigating police officer in Colorado, you may be wondering what the letters and numbers mean on the side of the police report. Many of our Colorado clients come into our office wondering this same thing – how do I interpret the police report that was issued in my case? In this article, the experienced Lafayette, Colorado personal injury attorneys at Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC, will explain how to interpret a police report after an accident. Before we get started, if you have any questions about your car, bicycle, motorcycle, pedestrian, or truck accident anywhere in Colorado, our team of experienced lawyers invites you to call our Boulder personal injury attorneys today at 303-543-1000 for a free consultation about your case and how we might be able to help you.So How do I Decipher the Codes on My Report?
After a traffic accident, most Colorado law enforcement agencies use a standard form to record the information they learned in their investigation of the crash. That form, officially “Form DR 2447” is issued by the Colorado Department of Revenue and is known as the State of Colorado Traffic Accident Report. An experienced Boulder personal injury lawyer knows that Form 2447 came about after years of local Colorado police departments using their own different methods for gathering traffic accident data, some of which were inadequate or took too long to capture important information about a crash. Today, law enforcement agencies ranging from the Colorado State Patrol, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department and Weld County Sheriff’s Department, to local agencies like the Lafayette, Erie, and Denver Police Departments all use some variation of the DR 2447.
An experienced Boulder personal injury attorney understands that while at first glance a police report seems to have only the most basic information, the report actually contains a treasure trove of data. The data within the Traffic Accident Report can be used to help paint a picture of what actually happened in the crash including:
- how fast the vehicles were going at the time of the crash (Box P);
- what the officer thinks was the likely cause of the crash (Box R);
- the severity of the impact (air bag deployment box & damage to vehicle showing 1, 2, or 3 for most serious);
- if weather may have been a factor in the crash (Boxes G & J);
- whether a driver was distracted (Box R);
- if drunk-driving cause the accident (Box R and charges issued); and
- a host of other valuable information.
A standard State of Colorado Traffic Accident Report, along with the code explaining the information contained in each of the lettered boxes on the edges of the report can be found here. We encourage you to contact our Lafayette, Colorado-based injury attorneys if you have questions about the information contained in your Colorado accident report.Putting the Police Report Data Together to Paint a Complete Picture of the Crash
The police report is the main independent source of information about an auto accident. The trained Lafayette personal injury lawyers at Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC, have reviewed thousands of police reports and can use it along with witness statements, photographs of the vehicles and the accident scene, 911 call and dispatch data, and other information, to paint the most complete picture possible of your crash. Knowing how to use a police report as one tool in showing what happened is important when it comes time to prove your case to an insurance company or a Colorado jury. This is especially true if the severity of your injuries or who is at fault is disputed.
One thing that is important to note is that often there is more to the police report that you initially receive from the law enforcement agency that investigated your crash. We have learned that a formal request by an experienced Lafayette personal injury attorney often results in the police department disclosing additional information that was not initially disclosed. Also, when the at-fault driver is facing serious criminal charges as a result of the crash, Colorado law allows law enforcement agencies and District Attorneys offices to withhold certain information until the criminal case is closed.Helping Victims of Car Accidents Across Colorado
If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt in a car accident in Colorado, or if you simply need help deciphering a police report that has been issued in your wreck, the experienced Lafayette personal injury attorneys at Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC can help. We invite you to call us today at 303-543-1000 for a free consultation about your case.