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Names of Minors Blocked on Crash Reports

Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2015    

A new rule put in place for Arkansas State Police requires the agency to take out all information on people under eighteen on crash reports. The new law went in effect on January 1, 2015 and the Arkansas State Police plan to prohibit bulk inspection of public crash reports.

Under previous law, the reports had to contain the names and addresses of each person involved in a crash. An amendment to Arkansas Code 27-53-202, written by state Senator Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot, requires law enforcement agencies to redact the names and addresses of minors from crash reports made public. That information can now be disclosed only to a parent or legal guardian of a child in a crash. Additionally, an insurance company can access the information when someone it provides coverage for is involved in a crash.

This law is implemented after controversy this past year over chiropractic runners, attorney solicitation, and insurance runners. Senator Williams said parents were the ones who brought the issue to his attention. One father’s argument centered on outside businesses (attorneys and chiropractors) getting his child’s information and badgering him at an insensitive time. Williams said, “The day of the funeral he received numerous pieces of mail from attorneys and chiropractors that said ‘we are here to represent your grandchild or child’. It was devastating.”

Personally, I am ecstatic the bill was passed unanimously by the Arkansas legislature and I agree with Senator Williams that the law was long overdue and should have been done several years ago. Over the years, I have been fighting to stop solicitation practice overall, including bringing proposed laws before the Arkansas General Assembly in 2009 and 2011

Some people have asked me why I have spent valuable time and money trying to end solicitation practice and the answer is simple. The practice tarnishes the image of lawyers, and more importantly, the practice gives the perception to jurors that there is a conspiracy between lawyers, chiropractors, and low speed automobile accident victims to make a quick buck after a low speed accident. While this is untrue in the vast majority of cases, perception (as we know) is reality. The simple truth is that deserving crash victims often do not receive fair compensation because of the solicitation practice.

If you receive a mailbox full of solicitation letters, phone calls from chiropractors, or a home visit from a runner, contact the Attorney General, the Arkansas State Insurance Commissioner, and your State Representatives and Senators and let them know your thoughts.