Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Matthew Milam to ensure that family members are notified in a timely manner when a relative has been seriously injured in an accident was approved Monday by the full Assembly.
“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 Albano (Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland), 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 by a vote of 74-0, would require the responding law enforcement officer or other officer investigating a motor vehicle accident to notify the next of kin of the whereabouts of an accident victim who has been transported to the emergency room of a medical facility 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,” said Milam (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “Given the fact that hospital staff are busy dealing with life and death situations, a responding officer is much better equipped to notify next of kin in a timely manner.”
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 consideration.