Limits on release of vehicle crash reports may slow the ability to recover damages after a car accident.
On November 8, 2016, residents of South Dakota voted Constitutional Amendment “S” into action, which will restrict the release of vehicle crash reports. This constitutional amendment, known as Marsy’s Law, is intended to increase victims’ rights and offer protections to victims of crime. The law originated in California after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas was stalked and killed by an ex-boyfriend, who was later released on bail without her family’s knowledge.
As a result of this constitutional amendment, residents of South Dakota no longer have access to the online database of accident reports supported by the South Dakota Department of Public Safety; this means that obtaining a report will be difficult for individuals involved in an accident or for attorneys who represent a client involved in a car crash.
After Marsy’s Law was passed, Liam Culhane of Turbak Law Office in Watertown, SD, said, “When an attorney takes on a personal injury case, our goal is to reach a resolution in the shortest possible amount of time. Marsy’s Law will slow down the process because acquiring an accident report is the first step to evaluating the claims of a case.” Mr. Culhane also emphasized that delayed access to an accident report means that, “Individuals are often unable to promptly pay their medical bills or prove to insurance that they were involved in a car accident.”
The law’s reach spreads wider than its’ original intent; for those seeking reimbursement for medical expenses, a delay in obtaining an accident report could mean late medical payments and lack of assistance from their insurance company. This is because insurance companies generally require an accident report before agreeing to reimburse their policyholders. In turn, victims of a car accident could have their debts sent to collection agencies and find themselves needing an attorney to intervene.
While 60 percent of South Dakotans voted in favor of Marsy’s Law, it is clear that individuals with medical expenses or lost wages from a car accident could see a much slower timeline in reimbursement from their insurance companies. Car accident lawyers in South Dakota seeking a swift resolution for their clients will likely also find it difficult to quickly resolve cases.
If you need assistance in dealing with the repercussions of a car accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Turbak Law Office. We will help you navigate the legal process and ensure that you are afforded the right to the reimbursement that you deserve.
About Turbak Law Office, P.C.: A plaintiff-only personal injury law firm in Watertown, South Dakota, Turbak Law Office advocates for people across South Dakota, never the insurance companies. Our cases cover a wide range of situations: people who experience unreasonable delays, discounts, or denial of their policyholder claims for compensation by insurance companies, families grieving the wrongful death of a loved one, workers left disabled by a catastrophic on-the-job injury, individuals hurt in a car crash by the carelessness of another, and whistleblowers coming forward with evidence of fraud, waste, or abuse. For more information, visit TurbakLaw.com or call 866-231-0914