Beginning March 3, 2014, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department implemented a new and controversial policy. In most cases, Metro officers will no longer respond to car accidents that do not involve an immediate complaint of injury.

This change accomplishes Metro’s stated objective of allowing its officers to respond to more urgent matters. Given Metro’s limited resources, its prioritization is laudable. Unfortunately, this policy has a largely negative impact on Las Vegas drivers.

The primary benefit of an officer on scene is having someone to mediate the conflict. The presence of an independent third party provides authority to an otherwise chaotic situation. Without that authoritative figure, there is no one to compel the exchange of information, and no one to verify the accuracy of such information. In these circumstances, truth can become victim to threats, intimidation and fraud.

More importantly, police officers are adept at collecting the following information that is crucial to a claim:

1. Driver contact information;

2. Insurance policy information;

3. Cause(s) of the collision;

4. Descriptions of property damage;

5. Vehicle identifiers;

6. Witness statements;

7. Length of skid marks;

8. Position of the vehicles;

9. Air bag deployment;

10. Roadway conditions;

11. Alcohol / Drug involvement; and

12. Summary of events.

When you are left alone at an accident scene, it is up to you to document the above information in as much detail as possible. This information is necessary even if you feel no injuries or symptoms immediately following a collision. Adrenaline can mask pain, and symptoms of soft tissue or even spinal disc injuries often do not manifest for days following an accident. If you wait until you are in pain to compile the above-listed facts, you have likely waited too long.

Heaton & Associates can help by sending a representative to your accident scene. Add us (702-664-2100) to your list of contacts. Call us day or night and we will document all relevant information, take photographs, coordinate towing of your vehicle (if necessary), and ensure that the at-fault party discloses the information necessary to initiate a claim. Be prepared. Take control. Heaton & Associates can help.