Serious Accidents

"I was in a bad accident."

General Information

The Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) is a resource for people who have been in serious accidents which are incapacitating and seriously disrupt your ability to function in the academic environment. OVA primarily offers a consultative role.

What to Do

You may have questions about what your options are. Depending on the nature of the incident you may have specific needs such as reporting, support, housing or academic concerns. OVA can offer free, confidential consultation on your options.

Support

Being seriously incapacitated can create a host of practical and emotional consequences. Seeking support takes many different forms. Discussing the situation with someone may help you sort out your feelings and decide what to do. While you may want to talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, co-worker, family member, or spiritual advisor, there are also confidential resources available on campus. OVA can provide you with information that may be helpful in dealing with your situation.

For some people a serious accident is a traumatic experience. To learn more about the effects of trauma click here.

Housing

If the aftermath of the accident is affecting your living environment, OVA may be able to consult with you about how you can arrange housing.

Academics

If you are worried about how the impact of this accident is affecting your schoolwork, that’s important to notice. You deserve to be in school and to meet your goals. For instance, it can be difficult to concentrate in class or to know how to rearrange your academic work if you are incapacitated. OVA can discuss options for managing academic issues. If you have had a disability or think you may now have a disability you may qualify for an accommodation. Disability Services will be able to let you know more about what this involves.

Reporting

For content specific information about reporting see below. For general information about reporting and the possibilities and limits of working with systems click here.

Police

You may already be involved with the police. If you are not, but would like to be, try to preserve any evidence of the incident. This might include getting names of witnesses, saving emails, text messages or voice messages related to the accident as well as taking pictures of injuries, damage, or supporting materials. You can also get copies of relevant medical records. OVA can talk with you about how to engage effectively with the criminal justice system, as well as help you make connections with the police if you want help in assessing the situation.

Reporting to the Office of Student Conduct or Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance

The Office of Student Conduct (OSC) adjudicates the student code of conduct. If your accident was caused by a student at CU, they may be in violation of the code. If you would like to know more about what the Office of Student Conduct process is like, you can contact OVA or the Office of Student Conduct directly, or look at their website.

If your accident was caused by a faculty or staff member, you may want to consider reporting to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC). OIEC investigates university policy infractions and may have jurisdiction over your situation. You can learn more at: http://www.colorado.edu/institutionalequity/

OSC and OIEC can provide another avenue for reporting and may be able to sanction the offending party or help with an informal solution. The OSC or OIEC processes are different from criminal or civil processes. You can choose one or both (unless this is an intimate partner violence situation). You can contact OSC or OIEC anonymously to get a better understanding of how they might handle your situation, or OVA can help you with getting that assessment.

How to Help

If someone you know was in an accident, there are ways you may be able to help.

  • First, take the situation seriously.
  • If you have had a similar situation your experience may help. Your friend’s reaction may differ, and their choices may differ, but knowing that they aren’t alone can be helpful in itself.
  • If you haven’t had a similar situation, you can listen and then learn more about how accidents impact people.
  • Ask the person what is the most important way the situation is impacting their life. Are they worried about school work or their job? Do they need to figure out how to get to class? Do they need to move?
  • If the person would like, you can do some groundwork to learn about issues and options by calling OVA, academic advising, housing resources, legal resources, or others.
  • Don’t overreact. It is important that the person who experienced the accident have the time to make sense of this experience. If they are completely ignoring major issues, gently broaching them may help.

For more information on how to help please click here.