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NYPD No Longer Dispatching Officers to the Scene of Minor Car Accidents

Police officer at the scene of an accident

How could my car accident claim be affected by the new NYPD policy of not responding to minor accidents?

In early April, the NYPD announced a change of policy.  The police department stated that it would no longer be sending officers to the scene of minor car crashes.  This controversial decision was made in an attempt to free officers for more critical work and reduce congestion on roadways.  While COVID-19 appears to have been the critical push towards implementing this new policy citywide, the program had already been in testing on Staten Island.  Our NYC car accident lawyers discuss the new NYPD policy and how it could potentially impact your car accident case below.

The NYPD’s Car Accident Policy Explained 

Per details released thus far from the NYPD, officers will not respond to ordinary car accidents involving only property damage.  Police officers will still respond to the crash if one of the parties is injured, the report is phoned in by a third party, one of the people involved fled the crash site, one of the parties disputes the other’s account of the accident, or either vehicle is so damaged it needs to be towed.  

Rather than call 911, the NYPD is directing any individuals involved in a minor car accident to exchange necessary information.  This includes driver’s license information, insurance, and vehicle registration.  Leaving the scene of the accident before exchanging information is illegal.

Repercussions for Car Accident Victims

The impact of this new NYPD policy could be substantial.  For starters, it will considerably alter car accident statistics in New York City.  Every day, there are about 450 non-injury causing motor vehicle accidents in New York City, per NYPD crash data.  Without these accidents reported, it will appear that some 100,000 fewer car accidents happen each year in NYC.  Falsely decreased car accident rates could lead to a diminished emphasis on car accidents as a critical problem in the city.

For car accident victims, the NYPD’s policy could have negative repercussions.  Police reports generated when officers respond to the scene of a car accident are typically critical to a personal injury case.  Often, car accident victims will not realize they have suffered injuries until hours or even days after the accident.  Now, they will not have a car accident report to document the crash when they realize they have suffered injuries and will need to file a personal injury case.  Car accident victims should contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible after their accident for an analysis of their legal rights.

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