Investigating a Car Accident Requires Significant Resources
Investigating a car accident requires a significant amount of planning, time, and resources. A successful car accident attorney will need a well- staffed, financed, and established law firm to back the car accident claim. The specific resources needed will depend on the unique nature of the car accident, but common resources include forensic tools, safety analysis, vehicle testing, and access to a range of medical, economic, and auto manufacturing experts to calculate causes of the crash and damages.
The Police Department’s Investigation
The first step in the automobile accident investigation will involve local or state police departments. The police officers will write an accident report that describes what they found at the scene and during preliminary investigation. One of the first steps an auto accident attorney will take when investigating a car accident is to contact the appropriate department to obtain copies of the accident report. Depending on whether the reports are classified as a matter of public record or unavailable due to a pending criminal proceeding will effect whether the report is accessed for a small fee or obtained through the case’s discovery phase after a law suit has been filed.
The police report should contain information on the witnesses and parties, diagram of the accident scene, notes on environmental conditions, and descriptions of the apparent property damages and injuries. The police’s aim in investigating the accident is to determine if any criminal action took place.1 The police look for speeding violations, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, mechanical or moving violations, or hours of service violations for commercial drivers.2
Why Attorneys Use Independent Investigators
At this point an experienced attorney will often hire an independent investigator who will analyze the causes of the accident so that liability or financial responsibility can be determined.3 The independent investigator will use the police report to conduct an investigation beginning with an inspection of the accident scene with the purpose of gathering and examining enough measurements, skid marks, final resting points, impact markings, and evidence left by the damaged vehicles to reconstruct the accident.4
Vehicle inspections will be conducted to test the car(s) for any defects or malfunctions in the mechanical components such as brakes, tires, or lights to determine if the vehicle had a causal connection to the car accident.5
The independent investigation of the accident scene and vehicle(s) will help in determining where liability rests. Then interviews or depositions will be set up with all parties, witnesses, and authorities involved in the accident in order to prove that the testimonies taken align with the theory of liability. Each of these steps takes significant time, funding for the testing, investigators, and experts, and resources to gather evidence such as computer software to reconstruct the accidents.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
The investigation process is a time sensitive matter that needs to begin as soon as possible after the accident occurs. This means that if you have been injured or a family member has been killed in a car accident it is important to immediately seek the experience and advice of an auto accident attorney who can help protect your legal interests and rights. To contact a car accident attorney for a free consultation about the circumstances of your car accident please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.