Car and Truck Accident Investigations
All accidents should be investigated, even if the first reports and assessments tend to show that the accident wasn’t very serious. Injuries which are first viewed as minor may later involve serious back injuries. Also, accidents firstclassified as “non-liability” accidents may later expose one side to liability simply because evidence developed by the other sidewas not originally considered.The stakes are too high to not thoroughly investigate an accident.
A quality accident investigation starts early. Commercial trucking companies have an advantage because many of the larger companies contact defense counsel and begin their investigation soon after an accident. An investigator is usually an attorney or an independent insurance adjustor. Investigators see the accident conditions firsthand and gather physical evidence before it is destroyed by weather, time, or roadside maintenance. Investigators also interview valuable witnesses before the witnesses forget information or move away and are unable to be located. Police officers at the scene also interview witnesses and investigate accident scenes. At serious accidents an officer may photograph the scene and take measurements to help determine how the accident happened.However, police reports might not be as thorough as the reports made by investigators, which is why it is important to retain a trained investigator.An investigator collects and preserves evidence of all kinds, whether it is favorable or not. Some of the types of evidence that will be collected include basic information like names and addresses of injured people, emergency personnel, and witnesses; photographs of the accident scene, of damage to vehicles, and of any trails left by vehicles; and public records such as media reports, obituaries, police reports, and traffic citations.
An attorney or investigator alone is fine for simple two car accidents. However, a “technical investigation” is more appropriate when an accident involves serious injuries and serious damages. The best practice for accidents with serious injuries is to retain experts in specific fieldssuch as accident reconstruction and biomechanics. These experts are used in addition to the initial investigation of the accident and provide technical information. The more quickly an expert is retained, the more information the expert has to study to produce accurate results. A technical investigation should be made immediately after the accident or as soon as possible after the accident, conditions have been changed, or other major changes have occurred. This helps prevent the destruction of evidence that is helpful in the case. An accident reconstruction expert is the most common kind of expert hired. An accident reconstruction expert recreates the crash scene, looks for any information that might have affected the accident, and preserves information about the points of impact, vehicle speeds, road conditions, highway design, highway maintenance, obstructions, and other information. A biomechanics expert examines the injuries suffered by accident victims; the kinds of injuries help the accident reconstruction expert to determine how the accident happened. A case with an early and thorough investigation is a case with better evidence that can be used to your benefit