The discussion was lively and included several calls from concerned citizens around the Las Vegas Valley. One suggestion that Alan Stock had is to create a new category of police employee that would be able to investigate these property damage only accidents, but would not cost the citizens of Las Vegas as much as a full time police officer.
A big concern for the victims of an accident, injury or not, is that the lack of police response to an incident would not be helping that victim at that time. Sometimes the person injured in an accident does not know that they are injured, such as in the case of a brain injury. A third party that was not involved in the accident, as an officer is, would provide an unbiased evaluation of all parties and might be able to identify that an accident victim needs medical attention, even though that victim may not understand that extend of his or her injuries.
Alan Stock mentioned that there is inherent danger when interacting with others, simply because you never know if the other person is hostile. That person may be carrying a weapon, and you just never know what the other person is thinking. Alan went on to state that with the police responding, perhaps those involved in the accident will have the time to calm down and this might diffuse any hostility that exists as a result of the accident.
Another point that came up during this fascinating discussion with Attorney Heather Harris on KDWN 720am is that the insurance costs may increase as a result of additional investigation being required of the insurance companies. Sergeant John Sheahan of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has previously stated that the cost for insurance adjusters is already included in the cost of your insurance. This statement was made in a segment called Behind the Badge on KVVU. At about the 1 minute mark of the video, Sgt. Sheahan makes this claim about the cost of investigation already being included in the insurance rates that Las Vegas automobile owners pay. Is Sgt. Sheahan predicting that insurance rates will not increase as a result of this new policy?
As Metro has stated, there were more than 23,000 auto accidents in LVMPD’s jurisdiction in 2013. 13,000 of those, according to Sgt. Sheahan, were property damage only. This data was presented during the interview on Behind the Badge. Additionally, the claim was asserted that 13,000+ man hours were spent investigating these accidents that did not involve any injuries. Metro’s policy decision assumes that those man hours can be better used to prevent accidents by increasing the enforcement of existing traffic laws.
Harris & Harris Injury Lawyers is concerned that after an accident, it could be several hours to several days before an accident injury victim realizes that he or she did sustain injuries during that accident. Without the thirty party independent investigation, eyewitness reports, and written documentation that normally result from a police officer responding to an accident, the injury victim is going to have a much more difficult time getting the proper help from the insurance companies at that point.
Another topic discussed during the conversation was whether or not this new policy would cause additional ambulance responses, when they aren’t necessary. Will people feel obligated to call and report possible injuries now, as a means to secure a police response? Will this result in unnecessary danger to the public, with more ambulances responding using their lights and sirens to non-injury accidents?
Listen to the above audio from the radio show with Alan Stock and Heather Harris and you decide if this is the right policy for Las Vegas.