Our New York City accident lawyers know that a police report outlining the cause of your car accident is one of the most important pieces of evidence in the wake of a collision. It is your burden as a car accident victim to show that the other driver in your accident was responsible for causing your crash if you want to obtain monetary compensation. Having a police report detailing how your accident happened makes it much easier to prove your case to collect damages.
Unfortunately, in the past, law enforcement did not always conduct vigorous investigations into accidents. In fact, the standard protocol was to send out a dedicated investigator from the Accident Investigation Squad only when at least one victim died or "seemed likely to die." Now, the NYPD has changed its policy amidst a storm of criticism and more accidents are going to be investigated.
Increase in the Number of Accidents Investigated
According to the New York Times, the police commissioner sent a letter to the City Council explaining the NYPD's new policy. Under this new policy, an investigator from the specialized Accident Investigation Squad will be summoned to an accident scene whenever a critical injury has been suffered. An investigator will also be summoned if a duty captain from the police department believes that the unique circumstances of the crash or the extent of the injuries warrants an investigation.
According to the department spokesperson, the new NYPD policy has actually already gone into effect although the public was not made aware of the change to the rules. He indicated that the police had already begun responding to accidents with critical but not fatal injuries, and that dozens of investigations had already been conducted since September. One such accident involved a woman who had her leg severed.
As a result of the policy shift, criminal charges have already been filed in several accident cases where serious injuries were suffered, showing that the new policy really can make a difference by helping to punish dangerous drivers who hurt others. Hopefully, more successful investigations will continue now that the change has been made public.
To accommodate the additional investigations, the New York Times also indicates that the Accident Investigation Squad will be growing with new members. Further, the Patrol Guide will also be revised in order to make more clear what new accidents will be prosecuted under the new rules.
Taking Legal Action
The police also indicated that the department is changing the terms they use to describe crashes. Instead of saying accident, the department will now be using the term "collision," since accident implies that no one was at fault or that no one was liable.
Determining fault is very important in any New York City collision because a driver who is at fault for causing the crash does need to be held accountable. This is true not only in terms of facing criminal charges if a law was broken, but also in terms of civil liability. A driver who causes a crash who is at fault should compensate the victim for medical costs, pain and suffering, lost income and other damages arising from critical or serious injuries. An accident report from police outlining fault will make it easier for accident victims to get the money they deserve.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.