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How Do I Find Out about Local Car Accidents

vegas car crashCar crashes remain one of the primary safety risks in the United States. According to a report cited by the Insurance Information Institute (III), nearly 4.8 million people were injured in auto accidents nationwide in 2020 alone. It is normal to be worried that your loved ones may have serious injury or fatality if you have not heard from them for an unexpected period of time.

This raises an important question: How can you find out if someone you know was injured in a car accident? The short answer is that there are three basic ways to track down this information: 1) the hospital, 2) car accident police report, and 3) personal contacts. Here, our Las Vegas car accident attorneys provide a more in-depth explanation of how you can find out if someone was hurt in a car crash.

The Three Main Ways to Find Out If Someone Was in A Las Vegas Car Crash

Finding out whether or not someone you know was hurt in a car crash can be a stressful and unnerving process. One of the challenges is that there is no a central database to refer to or a single phone number to call to ensure that you will get the right answer to the question. At the same time, that does not mean that it is impossible to get this information. Quite the contrary, you can find out a lot by making a few phone calls. Here are three main ways to find out if someone was involved in a serious car accident in Nevada:
x-ray at hospital
1.Local Hospitals and Medical Providers: If you are concerned about a serious car crash, nearby hospitals and medical providers are generally the best place to start. You can call the hospitals in the area where you believe that your friend or family member was driving. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), medical providers cannot tell you much. However, they generally can tell you whether or not a person is a “patient” at the facility. If no hospitals in the area have a record of a person being a patient, they may not have been seriously hurt in a crash. If they do have a record of a person receiving treatment, you can take action to make contact with them directly at the facility.

2. Police Departments: State and local law enforcement agencies may also be able to provide basic information about a car accident. If you call a local police department, they may be able to tell you if an official crash report listed a person’s name as having been involved in an accident in recent days/hours. The only downside is that it often takes a little bit of time before a person’s name is entered into the system. As an example, if a car crash happened 45 minutes ago, local dispatch may not yet have any details on who was involved, since the police report is not yet submitted.

3. Friends, Family, and Other Personal Contacts: Finally, you may also be able to get information by reaching out to your friends, family, and other personal contacts. They can sometimes have better information than the authorities—especially if the hospital and the police cannot seem to track down any information at all. It may be that your loved one is dealing with the aftermath of a relatively modest accident on their own. Alternatively, there may not have been a crash.

The Local Law Enforcement Agency will Try to Contact Close Family Members After a Serious Car Crash

It should be noted that police officers in Las Vegas try to make an effort to notify a person’s closest loved ones if a serious accident has occurred. Unfortunately, the process is not always smooth—in some cases, law enforcement officers have trouble getting access to emergency contact information. With this in mind, it is useful to try to make a proactive effort to track down information about a car accident if you are concerned that your family member or loved one was involved in a local crash. 

Local Law Enforcement Agencies

It is important to emphasize that local law enforcement agencies are generally primary sources of information when it comes to recent car accidents in your area. Whether it is city police, county sheriffs, or, in some cases, state highway patrol, it is these government agencies that are largely 

responsible for responding to and documenting motor vehicle collisions. They often have the most up-to-date information—especially if a crash just happened. You may even be able to make contact with a law enforcement officer who responded to the scene of a recent accident. 

Most departments maintain a record of accidents, and these reports are often available to the public upon request. Visiting the official website of your local police or sheriff’s department might provide online access to recent accident reports or instructions on how to obtain them. Of course, these databases take time before they are updated. You can use non-emergency phone lines to inquire about specific incidents. The more details that you have. The easier it will be to get useful information. Some of the local law enforcement agencies in our area include: 

  • Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD)
  • City of Las Vegas Department of Public Safety
  • Las Vegas City Marshals
  • North Las Vegas Police Department
  • Henderson Police Department
  • Henderson Township Constable’s Office
  • Mesquite Constable
  • Mesquite Police Department
  • Boulder City Police Department
  • Clark County Marshal’s Office
  • Clark County Park Police
  • Nevada State Police

Car Accident Police Report

A car accident police report is a detailed document prepared by the responding officer at the scene of a collision. This report contains vital information such as the parties involved, witness statements, diagram of the incident, apparent damages, and any citations issued. It serves as an official account of what transpired and can be critical for insurance claims and legal proceedings. To obtain a copy, individuals can visit the local police or sheriff’s department, or sometimes access them online. While these reports provide comprehensive details, it’s essential to note that they represent the officer’s observations and findings, not necessarily a legal verdict on the incident.

An Example of How to Request a Car Accident Police Report: LVMPD

To request a car accident police report from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), you must follow specific procedures to ensure you receive the correct information. For most people, the best option is to visit the LVMPD website. Individuals and attorneys can use the website to: Requesting Report Copies with LVMPD. Through the online portal, you can fill out a form with the necessary information—date, time, location, etc—to get the right report. 

If you prefer an in-person approach, head to the LVMPD Records and Fingerprint Bureau. To use the in-person option, you should be prepared to present valid photo identification. Be sure to call ahead to confirm the availability of the report and determine any additional documentation or information you might need.

Note: A police report for a car accident takes time to process. In Las Vegas, the LVMPD cautions that it can take several days or even multiple weeks for a car accident police report to be available. Other state and local law enforcement agencies have their own process for requesting car accident reports—though the timeline is generally similar. 

What Information Can I Expect to Find in a Car Accident Police Report?

A car accident police report is an authoritative record created by the responding officer at the scene of a vehicular incident. It offers a comprehensive overview of the accident. Here is an overview of the information that will typically—but not always—be included in a police report: 

  • Basic Details: Among other things, this includes the date, time, and location of the accident as well as the names and contact details of involved parties. 
    • A Narrative: A detailed description of the incident, usually written by the responding officer, which provides an overview of how the accident apparently occurred.
    • Diagrams: A visual representation of the scene, illustrating the position and movement of vehicles, road signs, traffic signals, and other pertinent details.
  • Account of Injuries and Damages: You may find a description of injuries sustained by drivers, passengers, or pedestrians.
  • Statements: Verbal accounts from drivers, witnesses, and passengers regarding the event may also be included in the police report. 
  • Traffic Violations and Citations: You may also find details on any traffic laws that were broken leading up to or during the accident and any tickets issued as a result.

Proactive Steps You and Your Family Can Take to Ensure Information is Shared

The aftermath of a serious crash can be chaotic. Not just at the accident scene itself, but also at the hospital and the police station. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult for family members, friends, and other loved ones to get access to the information that they need. There are some proactive steps that you and your family members can take ahead of time to help ensure that information is shared after a serious accident. Here are two strategies:

1. The Traditional Method: The old school recommendation is relatively simple: Keep your emergency contact with you whenever you are in a car. Your emergency contact should be fully updated. It should clarify who needs to be contacted (and how) should a serious accident occur. As a general rule, your ‘in-case-of-emergency’ card should be located in the same place as your driver’s license. It might be in your wallet or in your purse. In the aftermath of a very serious car accident, emergency first responders tend to look for a person’s driver’s license to determine their identity.

2. A Tech-Savvy Approach: In recent years, more and more technology companies are rolling out new applications for car accidents. There are a number of different smartphone apps available that are designed to help handle an emergency situation after an accident. Some of the most popular examples are SOSmart and iWrecked. Some of these apps are built to make sure that police and first responders have access to your emergency contact information. Other smartphone applications are more advanced. They detect when an accident occurred and send an immediate message to the authorities and an emergency contact.

What to Do If Your Loved One Was Injured in a Car Accident

If your loved one was injured in a major car accident in Las Vegas, there are steps that you can take to help protect their health, safety, overall well-being, and legal rights. Among other things, you should do the following:

  • Ensure they are Getting Proper Medical Care: Health care needs always come first. Try to make sure that your loved one is getting the professional medical attention that they need.
  • Write Down As Much as Possible: Record and organize any information you can about the accident. Auto accident claims are fault-based legal cases. If you find out that another driver was at fault, it will make you want to sue for as much as possible. The more evidence you have, the easier it is to help your loved one get accountability and full compensation.
  • Let Other People Know: There may be other people that should also know about the crash. You can help your loved one out by ensuring that the proper amount of information is shared with other close friends and family members. In some cases, you may even need to tell their job that a crash occurred.

Call Our Las Vegas Car Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation

At Ladah Law Firm, our Nevada car accident lawyers work tirelessly to help injured victims secure their future. With a long record of successful results, our firm has recovered more than $150 million in financial compensation on behalf of injured victims. If your loved one was seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision, we are more than ready to get started on your case.

Call us now or send us a message to arrange your free, no-obligation initial legal consultation. You and your loved ones do not have to go up against big insurance companies alone. Our attorneys will do everything in their power to protect you. From our law office in Las Vegas, we represent victims and families throughout Clark County. We can help you investigate all local motor vehicle crashes.