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Written by: J. Todd Tenge

How Long Does It Take to Get a Police Report After a Car Accident

| Read Time: 3 minutes

Regardless of whether you were at fault in a given accident, you should always have a copy of your accident report.

Accident reports are essential in the claim process because they are the official record of the accident.

Without an accident report, the claim’s process would quickly devolve into hopelessly conflicting versions of what happened with no way to answer the question of who is liable for what damages.

People often wonder how long it will take to get their accident report. Unfortunately, it is hard to provide an accurate estimation.

How to Get a Police Report for a Car Accident

To get your accident report, you need to go through the law enforcement agency that responded to your accident.

For accidents on Colorado freeways, you need to contact the Colorado State Patrol. If your crash was within city limits, like Boulder, for example, you submit your request through that city’s police department.

Finally, if your accident occurs outside of city limits and a local sheriff’s department responds to the scene, you need to submit your accident report request through them.

Every jurisdiction follows a slightly different protocol, but they are all easily navigable. 

How Long Does It Take to Get a Copy of a Police Report?

Different jurisdictions list different ranges of time that their accident reports take. There is no set standard among the different Colorado law enforcement agencies.

Most of the time, accident reports take between two and four weeks to reach their recipient, but sometimes it takes longer.

Because police departments can’t always accurately estimate how long a given report will take to reach its destination, they don’t offer any sort of guarantee as to when a given report will arrive.

Law enforcement agencies need time to file and process accident reports before they are available to the relevant parties.

For some departments, this means that an accident report is not available until 14 days after it is filed, while other departments may require 10 days.

Regardless, you should not expect to have your accident report in hand until at least 10-14 days have passed.

Why Is My Accident Police Report Taking So Long?

Having a delay between when you request your accident report and when you receive it is not an uncommon occurrence. This delay can make an already frustrating situation even worse.

The accident report is essential in the claim process. If you don’t know what’s on the accident report, you will have a hard time presenting your claim.

So why do accident reports sometimes get delayed? The truth is, in large bureaucratic organizations like police departments, a number of things can create delays in getting documents out to the people who request them.

Those documents, of course, include your car accident report.

You can always expect some degree of variation between the time you request your document and the time it is supposed to arrive.

This variation goes both ways. If the number of pending document requests is fairly low when you submit your request, you may get your report a few days early.

But if the staff tasked with responding to requests have a backlog of requests to get through before yours, it may arrive late. This variation is exactly why most police departments are reluctant to promise or guarantee 

How to Ensure You Get Your Accident Report As Soon As Possible

Most of what determines how long it will take for you to receive your accident report is entirely out of your control. Thus, there isn’t much you can do to get your accident report sooner.

But there is one thing entirely under your control: submitting your properly completed request as soon as possible. That way, you won’t lose your spot in the line. Equally important is to properly fill out your document request.

If the request is missing information and has to come back to you, your request will go to the back of the line. Outside of this, there isn’t much you can do to make things go quicker.

Now That You Have Your Accident Report

With your accident report in hand, you can start the process of recovering your damages and moving on from the accident.

The best way to do that is with an experienced car accident attorney. Fortunately, the team at Tenge Law Firm is just that: experienced.

Every day, we help our clients move forward from the trauma that comes with a nasty car accident. We treat our clients with respect and compassion, and we do everything we can to get them the best results.

To see if Tenge Law Firm is the right fit for you, contact us today to get started!

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