It appears that the strain that the coronavirus pandemic has placed on the City of New York has prompted the NYPD to come up with a new policy regarding police responses to motor vehicle accidents. 

According to a Daily News article, a memo recently distributed by the NYPD indicates that police officers will no longer respond to 911 calls for “minor” car accidents. While it appears that police will still respond to major car crashes involving deaths and those involving large vehicles (buses/trucks), if there are no major injuries reported during the 911 call, the police will not respond and the caller will instead be directed to “file their own reports and send the information to the Department of Motor Vehicles.”

Greater potential for mistakes

It is believed that this new approach will free up already strained police resources to respond to more serious calls.  However, this new policy has some potential drawbacks for victims of car accidents. For example, DMV accident report forms (known as MV-104 forms) are quite complicated for the average person to properly complete and there is a strong potential for an inexperienced person to commit errors while preparing the reports. The potential for mistakes is even greater when it involves elderly people or people who are not proficient in English. Any minor mistake can lead to an insurance company denying or delaying payment of a valid claim.

Also, it is not uncommon for the symptoms of injuries sustained in a car accident to take hours or even a few days to set in. The reason is that car accidents are traumatic events that often cause the human body to generate adrenaline and a heightened level of excitement that may mask pain or other symptoms for a short time immediately after the accident. However, once the adrenaline and excitement subsides, the pain and symptoms from injuries sustained in the accident can begin setting in. The lack of police being called or responding to car accidents will undoubtedly lead to insurance companies denying or delaying valid bodily injury claims.

In light of this new policy, it is vitally important for you to immediately consult with a car accident lawyer if you are involved in an auto crash and believe that you sustained any injuries. An experienced attorney will assist you in preparing the required accident reports and can also assist you in dealing with the insurance companies for any potential bodily injury claims you may have.