Starting on March 3, 2014 the Las Vegas metropolitan police department will no longer respond to minor traffic accidents. When drivers get into a fender bender or non-injury accident, it will be their responsibility to exchange insurance information and file a traffic report. Representatives of the police department claim the new policy is necessary to address a massive budget shortfall and free up personnel to respond to more serious calls, but some critics are crying foul.
Too Many Accidents, Not Enough Officers
Every year, All State Insurance uses accident claims to rank major US cities. In 2013, Las Vegas was in the bottom half of the list at 130th place. This means that, on average, Vegas drivers have an accident every 8.7 years. This number of accidents puts a strain on police resources. In fact, over the last five years, Las Vegas PD has responded to between 12,000 and 14,000 injury-free accidents. To make matters worse, Las Vegas doesn’t have enough officers: while the national standard is 2.0 officers for every 1,000 people, the Las Vegas area currently employs only 1.8 officers for every 1,000. Under the old policy, these men and women collectively dedicated as many as 250 hours every week to minor accident response.
Filing Your Own Report: What You Need To Know
If you get into an accident in Las Vegas, police will not respond unless someone is injured or one of the driver’s is suspected of being intoxicated. This means it is your responsibility to collect information, exchange insurance information, and communicate effectively with the relevant parties. Critics of the new policy believe that while it may free up some officers, new problems are sure to arise: “People are going to be over exaggerating, understating the accident, and the procedure of the accident isn’t going to be reported correctly because of a lack of police involvement,” Dena Gaskin told CNN affiliate KLAS. Insurance companies have decried the policy, warning that it will lead to an increase in medical fraud, personal injury litigation, and, ultimately, higher insurance rates. Without police accident reports, claims investigation will become more error-prone and time consuming, and consumers will end up footing the bill.
If you’re a driver in Las Vegas, here’s how you can be prepared in case of an accident:
- Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy including the name of your provider and the extent of your coverage.
- Keep a camera in your car at all times. Collecting evidence is critical in resolving a dispute. Pictures should include any damage to your vehicle and anything that tells the story of the crash including skidmarks and property damage.
- Have a pen and pad in your vehicle. You will want to collect names and contact information of any witnesses that can corroborate your accident report, as well as the information of those involved in the accident.
- Keep a step-by-step after accident guide in your glovebox. Having a reference can be extremely helpful as the stress of an accident can lead to lapses in judgment and memory.
After an accident occurs, you should immediately seek medical attention for even minor injuries and contact your insurance company. If you’re not sure about what steps to take right after, contact your Las Vegas accident attorneys at Gazda & Tadayon. 702-220-7128.
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Top original image courtesy of Kai Stachowiak