NYPD’s New Policy Regarding “Minor Accidents”
by Halina Radchenko
Starting on March 18, 2019 New York City Police officers will stop responding to motor vehicle accidents where there are no reported injuries at the site of the accident. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and you call 911, the operator will go through a series of questions and if your accident is deemed “minor” the 911 operator will instruct you how to file a police accident report called an MV104 form and to exchange insurance information.
If police officers respond to your motor vehicle accident and they feel that the accident is “minor” they will no longer fill out a police accident report. They will also provide you with instructions on filing out an MV104 and tell you to exchange insurance information.
This pilot program will start in Staten Island and will be extended to all five boroughs if it becomes successful in Staten Island.
The City of New York’s reasoning behind this policy is that they are trying to improve response time to emergencies and responding to “minor” accidents is very time consuming. The Police Officers can be using this time to respond to crimes and serious emergencies.
At first glance, this seems to be a good idea in light of limited City resources and the importance of responding to serious emergencies more quickly. However, a thorough analyses shows that a refusal to respond to motor vehicle accidents many lead to issues later on that can affect your rights in connection with your property damage claim as well as your possible claim for personal injuries.
A police officer undergoes training in in responding to the scene of a motor vehicle accident. In fact, there is a myriad of useful information in the police accident report outside of what the parties state. Those little boxes surrounding the police accident report contain information such as weather, lighting conditions, traffic control devices, apparent contributing factors, points of contact and pre-accident vehicle action. When a police officer comes to the scene of the accident, he makes observations based on statements made by the parties, the witnesses and the positions in which the cars have come to rest. This information may become important later in time if you will need to bring a case for property damages or personal injury.
Anyone who has been in an accident for the first time may not know what information is important to take down.
Without this important information claims arising out of motor vehicle accident will become more difficult to prove.
6 Steps to take if involved in a motor vehicle crash
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident here is a list of information you should obtain and steps that you should take to protect your rights:
- Take photographs. Take photographs of the damage, the points of contact, the license plate of the other vehicle, the registration of the other vehicle located on its windshield, the other parties’ driver’s license and insurance card.
- Ask around the scene for any witnesses. If anyone comes forward and says they say the accident make sure to take their name, address and telephone number.
- If you think you may be injured call an ambulance and get checked out at a hospital from the scene of the incident. It is important to have a record of injuries you felt immediately following the collision.
- Take a note regarding the location, including any landmarks if it happens in the middle of the street as opposed to an intersection.
- Take note of any traffic control devices in the area.
- Take note of the names of all the passengers in other vehicle.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and you have any questions call Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057.