For many years a special team of officers from the New York Police Department (NYPD) were sent to investigate a select number of motor vehicle crashes. This group of investigators has been called the Accident Investigation Squad but now the chief of police has indicated that the name will be changed to the Collision Investigation Squad. In addition, the squad will be notified of car collisions more often than in the past. Until now, most crashes were treated as simple accidents and investigated by regular police officers as such. Only when an injured accident victim died or was likely to die, would the police call in the special investigation team. The regular traffic police often assume no criminal or negligent behavior led to most incidents and are therefore classified as “just an accident.” Even when the specialized investigators respond, they usually treat the injury scene as stemming from an accident – their squad’s name even suggests that from the beginning. Public safety advocates complain that this policy has left injury victims to fend for themselves with minimal investigation done at the time of the car crash. They say that a car collision should not occur if everyone is following the driving laws that were created to prevent such “accidents.” Some observers note that a reckless driver may cause a car crash with injuries even when those injuries are not life threatening. They ask why those types of car accidents should not be fully investigated and criminal charges filed, if appropriate. A top New York City accident lawyer explains that an immediate and proper investigation of a motor vehicle crash is necessary for the injured victim to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. Collisions that fall under the jurisdiction of this police investigation squad can include a car crash, truck accident, bicycle accident or even a pedestrian hit by a car. Safety activists hope that the investigation policy changes will more properly reflect the need for thorough investigation of collisions in order to help get dangerous drivers off the road. For more information on the changing policies within the police department’s investigation of these injuries, see this article.
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