Personal Injury Attorney In California

How Do Fatal Car Accident Investigations Work?

Posted on July 19, 2023

If you have ever been present at the scene of a motor vehicle accident, you’re familiar with the chaos and confusion of everyone present. There is debris in the road, cars are scattered and backed up, and police and rescue are on the scene to aid injured victims and determine what caused the crash. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal car collision, you deserve to have your questions answered and to get justice with the help of a personal injury lawyer

What’s the Purpose of a Crash Investigation?

A car accident investigation aims to determine how the crash occurred and which driver was ultimately responsible for the collision. Several steps are involved with this investigation and it includes a variety of personnel.

Who Is Involved in an Accident Investigation?

Throughout the investigation process, several people will collect and review evidence. They will document the accident scene and any other elements of the collision. This includes:

  • Police officers 
  • The insurance company
  • Accident reconstructionists 
  • Lawyers for drivers involved
Photo of Car Crash Scene

What Are the Four Steps in a Fatal Traffic Accident Investigation?

1. Documenting Evidence at the Accident Scene

The initial step of an investigation is documenting the scene of the collision. The debris will get cleaned up, the damaged vehicles will be moved from the scene, and repairs to damaged guardrails, roads, and other structures will be done. Our legal team, the investigating officer, and insurance investigators will attend the scene as soon as possible to record video, take pictures, and gather physical evidence so reports can be filed and an independent investigation can be conducted. This investigation looks for elements like:

  • Position of the vehicles post-collision 
  • Damage to any vehicles involved in the crash
  • Intersection or road layout where the collision happened
  • Any skid marks or other damage on the road surface

2. Witness Interviews & Hiring Experts

Eyewitness testimony can help validate your claim against the negligent driver. It is imperative that if you speak to any witnesses at the scene, you collect their contact information. 

Our legal team will speak with each eyewitness to determine what they saw and where they were positioned at the scene, the weather and road conditions at the time of the accident, and more.

Your car accident lawyer may hire expert witnesses to aid with the investigation of your car accident claim. Expert testimony may play a critical role in several aspects of your case, from confirming causation and liability for the accident to understanding the extent of your injuries and any compensation you may be able to recover. 

Not every car crash claim will need the assistance of expert witnesses. However, the team at the King Law Firm has the resources and knowledge to hire experienced experts if needed.

3. Obtaining & Reviewing Accident Documents 

Police reports are among the most crucial documents for building your car accident claim. The police report will include critical information such as:

  • The precise location of the accident
  • The contact information for all parties involved
  • An approximation of the time the accident occurred
  • Involved driver’s car insurance information 
  • The extent of damage to the vehicles
  • Statements from parties involved in the crash
  • Information on visibility, weather, or any other conditions at the scene
  • Eyewitness statements and their contact information

In addition to reviewing the police report, our legal team will obtain and review other documents such as bills you received, medical records, and your auto insurance policy. Contact the King Law Firm today to discuss your accident.

4. Investigating the Damaged Vehicles

The police report typically includes notes on any damage to the vehicles involved in the accident. However, firsthand and knowledgeable examination by your legal team gives the best information. We will thoroughly check and document the damage to the vehicles and then compare what we have found to the accident report to determine what occurred in the accident and which driver may be at fault. 

Occasionally, additional investigation of involved vehicles may reveal evidence of a defective vehicle component or part that could have played a role in the motor vehicle accident. Our legal team can pursue the manufacturer or other liable parties on your behalf in these cases.

How Do Police Investigations of Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents Work?

When law enforcement arrives on the scene, they will try to determine if a driver committed criminal acts that could have led to the fatal car crash. These criminal acts can include the following:

  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Hours of service violations
  • Speeding
  • Roadworthiness violations

Penalties and charges may be more severe if the accident occurred due to a criminal act.

Role of a Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer

Car accidents are unfortunately quite common. With many cities created around the use of motor vehicles, high-speed head-on collisions are inevitable. According to California’s Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, there were almost 4,000 people tragically killed in just over 3,500 automobile accidents in 2017.

The intricacies of a fatal accident can be difficult to manage for the victim’s families. It can be challenging to handle the investigation and arrange funeral services while coping with the grief of losing a loved one. Hiring a reputable wrongful death lawyer to represent you and your lost family can help ease the burden during this difficult time. 

At the King Law Firm, our compassionate legal team understands that the hardships that come with the tragic loss of a loved one can be unbearable and requires time to process. Our firm is here during this difficult time to handle every aspect of your car accident or wrongful death lawsuit. We’ll prevent defense attorneys and insurance companies from harassing you and ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. The King Law Firm is committed to serving clients in California with locations in Ventura and surrounding cities.

Category: Car Accident