Investigating a Car Accident

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | October 11, 2023
Investigating a Car Accident

There is no disputing that car accidents can lead to debilitating injuries, some of which are permanent and lead to ongoing complications. To recover monetary compensation in a car accident claim or lawsuit, the accident victim must satisfy their legal burden of proof.

Successfully demonstrating the legal elements of a car crash claim or lawsuit typically involves a certain amount of investigation by the accident victim’s personal injury attorney.

Investigating a car accident claim usually necessitates a certain amount of time, resources, and planning – not to mention a certain amount of money.

An experienced and successful car accident lawyer will have the resources necessary to help a car accident victim investigate their accident circumstances, prove the legal elements of their claim or lawsuit, and maximize the total monetary damages they ultimately recover in their case.

Those resources may include access to vehicle testing, safety analysis, and forensic tools. It may also involve access to experts, including auto manufacturing, economic, and medical experts – any of whom can testify at a deposition or civil jury trial in support of your case.

Your St Louis car accident lawyer will do everything possible to successfully prove the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit and recover fair monetary damages that will make you whole again after your accident.


How do Car Accidents Happen?

Motor vehicle accidents are usually a direct result of another driver's negligent, careless, or reckless behavior. When drivers fail to drive in a safe manner, they might bring about an accident that leads to devastating injuries for drivers and passengers alike.

Some of the most common causes of motor vehicle crashes include:

Investigating a Car Accident
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles, such as at a traffic intersection
  • Excessive speeding
  • Failing to use technological devices on a motor vehicle, such as backup cameras, mirrors, and lane change warnings
  • Exhibiting road rage, such as by recklessly tailgating other vehicles or weaving in and out of busy traffic without using a turn signal
  • Operating a vehicle in a distracted or inattentive manner, such as by talking on a cellular phone or tablet that does not have Bluetooth capabilities
  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Bringing about disorientation, blurred vision, dizziness, delayed reflexes, and delayed reaction time

If you suffered injuries in any accident that resulted from another driver's negligence, a car accident attorney in your area can investigate your accident circumstances, review police reports, and retain the proper experts to evaluate and potentially testify in your case. By undertaking these actions, your lawyer will put you in the best position to recover favorable monetary compensation for your injuries.

Common Types of Car Crashes that Can Result from Another Driver’s Negligence

When other people drive carelessly and recklessly, they may bring about various accidents that cause ongoing injuries and medical complications.

Some of the most common types of accidents that lead to serious injuries – and may involve some type of driver negligence – include:

  • Rear-end accidents, where a driver causes their vehicle to hit the back of another vehicle, usually because of tailgating or inattentive driving
  • Sideswipe accidents, where a driver negligently causes their vehicle to drift out of a travel lane and into an adjacent lane, hitting another vehicle
  • Head-on crashes, where a driver passes other vehicles in a no-passing zone or otherwise causes the front of their vehicle to strike the front of an oncoming vehicle, potentially leading to permanent injuries and fatalities
  • Broadside or T-bone accidents, where a driver fails to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle at the proper time, causing the front of their car or truck to hit the side of a vehicle that is traveling on an intersecting road

If you suffered physical injuries in one of these types of accidents that another driver caused, you have legal rights and options available to you. Your car accident lawyer can fully investigate your accident circumstances, determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit, and execute the appropriate option for your case.

How to Investigate a Car Accident

In some car accident circumstances, it is difficult to determine exactly how an accident occurred and who was at fault. In those situations, your car accident attorney can retain one or more experts who can draft reports or testify as witnesses in your personal injury claim or lawsuit.

First, the police department might have already investigated your car crash circumstances. In most situations following an accident, the responding police officer will draft an accident report that describes their observations at the car crash scene, along with providing a narrative description of the accident circumstances (usually based upon what the involved drivers told them).

This report may also include a diagram of the accident scene and indicate whether or not the officer issued the at-fault driver a citation (and, if so, the basis for the citation).

One of the first steps in the accident investigation process is for your lawyer to obtain a copy of the police report. Your lawyer can also contact car accident witnesses if their names and addresses are present on the police report.

Retaining an Independent Investigator for a Car Accident Case

In addition to obtaining information for a police investigation report, your car accident lawyer can retain an independent investigator who can testify in your case.

An expert can assist you by investigating your accident circumstances, inspecting the accident scene, and gathering/examining impact markings, skid marks, final resting points for vehicles, and other measurements that the damaged vehicles left.

An investigator can also conduct a visual inspection of the involved vehicles and check for potential mechanical defects, including those relating to lighting systems, tires, or brakes, that might have caused or contributed to the subject car crash.

An expert investigator can analyze all of this information to determine exactly how your accident happened and who was at fault.

Finally, your car accident attorney can retain a medical expert who can testify in your case. A medical expert can establish, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that you suffered at least one physical injury as a direct and proximate result of your car accident. 

Common Injuries that Result from Serious Car Crashes

The injuries that a car accident victim may suffer in a crash are usually very case-specific and depend upon a variety of factors, including the force of the collision, the number of collisions that occur, and the movements of the accident victim’s body inside their vehicle during the accident.

The most common car crash injuries include:

  • Traumatic head and brain damage
  • Soft tissue muscular contusions
  • Rib fractures
  • Broken bones
  • Open lacerations
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Mouth, jaw, and teeth injuries
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Eye injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Death

If you suffered any of these injuries in a recent car accident, you need to complete your prescribed medical treatment regimen. Doing so helps you increase your chances of making a full recovery from your injuries. It also shows the insurance company adjuster handling your claim that your injuries deserve favorable and full monetary compensation.

While you focus on completing your treatment regimen in full, your car accident attorney can begin to handle the legal components of your personal injury claim. Specifically, your lawyer can start retaining experts, gathering important documents (including medical records and bills), and assembling those documents into a complete demand package.

Burden of Proof in a Car Crash Claim or Lawsuit

In every car accident claim or lawsuit, the injured accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof.

To successfully recover monetary damages for their injuries, an accident victim must show, through documents, fact witnesses, and expert testimony, that:

  • Another driver operated their vehicle in a negligent, careless, reckless, or unreasonable manner under the circumstances
  • The accident was a direct result of the other driver’s duty-of-care violation(s)
  • The accident victim’s claimed injury or injuries directly resulted from the subject car crash

Your car accident lawyer can retain the necessary experts to successfully prove the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit and recover the monetary compensation you need and deserve.

Recovering Favorable Monetary Damages in a Car Accident Case

The main purpose of filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit is to recover favorable monetary compensation and become whole again – as much as possible – following a car accident.

Since every car accident claim is different, different accident victims will very likely recover different types and amounts of monetary damages in their personal injury cases.

A monetary settlement or litigation result in a car accident claim will likely depend on:

  • The venue where the car accident claim is pending
  • The nature and extent of the accident victim’s personal injuries – including whether or not they sustained a permanent injury in their accident (as determined by an expert medical provider)
  • Whether the accident victim had to miss time from work after their accident due to the nature and extent of their injuries
  • The specific circumstances surrounding their auto accident

First, car crash victims can recover monetary compensation for their related medical expenses. Moreover, if an expert medical provider determines that they suffered a permanent injury in their accident, they can recover their anticipated medical costs and physical therapy expenses.

Next, a car crash victim can recover lost income compensation – or compensation for loss of earning capacity – if they had to miss time from work following their auto accident or switch to lighter-duty work and take a pay cut as a result.

In addition to accident-related out-of-pocket losses, accident victims can pursue compensation for their non-economic, intangible losses.

As part of a non-economic damage award, accident victims can pursue and recover compensation for:

  • Accident-related pain, suffering, and inconvenience
  • Loss of spousal support and companionship
  • Mental and emotional distress related to the accident
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Loss of the ability to use a body part (due to paralysis or a spinal cord injury)
  • Permanent disfigurement or disability
  • Embarrassment and humiliation, such as from visible scarring

Your car accident lawyer can determine the likely value of your car accident claim or lawsuit based on the extent of your injuries and other accident-related factors. Your attorney can also help you decide whether you should accept a particular settlement offer from the insurance company or continue negotiating with the adjuster.

Finally, if you decide to litigate your case in the court system, your lawyer can decide between a civil jury trial or an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding, such as binding arbitration or mediation, in your case.

Talk With an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Near You Today

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer, Anthony Bruning

If you recently suffered injuries in a car crash, a knowledgeable car accident attorney can investigate the circumstances leading up to your accident, file a personal injury claim on your behalf, or litigate your case in the court system to a favorable resolution.

Pursuant to the statute of limitations, accident victims only have five years from their accident date to file a car accident lawsuit for monetary compensation, absent a few extremely limited circumstances. Given the time constraints, you need to retain a skilled attorney to represent you as quickly as possible in your case.

The last thing anyone wants after being in a car accident is to spend time on the phone with an insurance company and worrying about how they are going to pay their bills. It is best for you to have a lawyer who can handle your legal battles while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize the overall monetary award you receive in your case, either through a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company or litigation in court.

In addition to gathering the appropriate documents in your case, like police reports and medical records, your attorney can retain one or more qualified experts to prove your case. Then, your attorney can represent you at all of your legal proceedings and work to recover the money damages you deserve.

A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

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