Bill Would Require Police To Immediately Notify Relatives Of Accident Victims

Legislation to ensure that family members are notified in a timely manner when a relative has been seriously injured in an accident continues advancing toward law. “It’s our belief that the law enforcement officer who responds to the accident scene, or is investigating the accident, is in a much better position to notify the victim’s next of kin in a timely manner than hospital staff,” said Assemblyman Nelson Albano Albano (Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland), the sponsor of the bill, whose son Michael was killed in 2001 by a repeat drunk driver. “The goal here is to simply make sure that notification is done in as timely and proper way as possible for the benefit of both the victim and the family.”

The bill (A-1812), approved 75-0 by the Assembly in December 2010 and recently released by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee, would require an officer investigating a motor vehicle accident to notify the next of kin of the whereabouts of an accident victim who has been transported to an emergency room when that victim is unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate this information.

The officer is required to make this notification as soon as possible.

“Even an hour or two can make all the difference to the family of a seriously injured victim,” Albano said. “The law enforcement officer who responds to the accident scene or is investigating the accident is in a better position than hospital staff to notify in a timely manner the next of kin of the victim’s whereabouts when the victim is unable to do so.”

Currently, notifying the next of kin when a person has been admitted to an emergency room as a result of a motor vehicle accident is usually done by hospital staff.

The bill now heads to the Senate for final legislative approval consideration on Thursday. TLS.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. The Officer is going to call the next of kin, and what is the first question the family asks ” how is he/she”, the officer responds …….. what?

    Can’t they find something important to do in Trenton? Maybe we should be like Texas, their legislators are part time employees. If this is all they can do in Trenton maybe THEY should be part time also!

  2. Why always complaining? I hear that this is a good law. The officer responds, ‘you can find out by going to XYZ hospital,’ and this way they have a better chance of getting there in time to say goodbye or make important medical decisions.

  3. If they don’t know all the information how can they make notifications..that is what takes time..yes a couple hours seem like a long time but if it accident is that serious, they worry about the victims first.

  4. The officer would only provide the location (hospital), HIPAA protects the patient’s medical info. I had a loved one in ICU for 2 days, a missing persons reoprt filed & nothing…..why, the officer hadn’t filed his accident report yet! Ask a cop how quickly HIS family should be informed? It’s always easy to criticize when you haven’t walked in someone else’s shoes!

Comments are closed.