Determining the facts of a car accident is crucial. Some accidents are relatively easy to investigate – for instance, in a rear-end accident, it’s usually the driver in the back who is at fault for the accident.
Other accidents can be more complex, such as collisions involving multiple vehicles and multiple insurance companies. If the accident involves a commercial vehicle or a rideshare driver, liability could become more difficult to establish. Facts may also be harder to obtain if a driver doesn’t remember what happened or if one of the motorists involved in the accident lies about what occurred in an attempt to avoid liability. That’s why conducting a full investigation of the accident is so important.
If you were seriously injured in an accident, consult with the experienced Long Island car accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., who will have the knowledge and resources to conduct a thorough, independent investigation of the accident, gather evidence on your behalf, and identify the liable party or parties.
A comprehensive investigation into the accident is vital if you want to pursue the compensation you need to recover after the accident. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation.
Who Investigates Car Accidents?
Anytime a car accident occurs, there are typically three different entities who will investigate the accident:
- Law enforcement – Police officers will usually arrive on the scene in the direct aftermath of an accident. Police officers will determine if criminal activity may have contributed to the accident. For instance, if alcohol use contributed to the accident, it is essential to get the police involved. Police will also typically make an accident report containing information about the accident, such as driver information, witness information, a description of property damage, any injuries sustained by the victims of the accident, and an initial determination of fault.
- Insurance companies – Insurance adjusters will evaluate the accident and try to determine liability. If you were seriously injured in an accident, then the at-fault driver’s insurance company may be required to pay you for damages caused by the accident. Insurance adjusters will calculate how much money they believe you are owed based on their investigation. However, the insurance adjuster’s job is to minimize the amount they must pay you, which is why an independent investigation may be necessary to recover the full amount of compensation you are owed.
- Independent investigators – Attorneys may hire independent investigators to examine the accident. Their job is to determine whether driver negligence led to the accident. If the investigation determines that the other motorist was driving while distracted, for instance, then you may be entitled to recover compensation from the negligent driver. Because insurance companies will often offer the lowest amount possible to accident victims, an independent investigation is often required for accident victims to get an accurate estimate of the damages they are owed.
Evaluating the Scene of the Accident
Law enforcement officers tend to be the first party to investigate the scene of the accident. When they arrive, police officers will gather evidence that they will include in their accident report, such as:
- The location of the accident
- Weather conditions at the time of the accident
- Number of accident victims
- The date and time
- Whether alcohol or drugs may have been involved
- Driver statements and drive info
- Witness statements
Each entity’s investigation aims to collect evidence that helps establish the facts of the case and who was liable for the accident. Evidence must be gathered and preserved as quickly as possible to prevent it from being compromised. Some common types of evidence that investigators will look at include:
- Pools of fuel or blood at the scene
- Debris resulting from the accident
- Skid marks on the roadway and in the surrounding area
- Presence of drugs and/or alcohol at the scene
- The location of the vehicles after the collision, as well as the distance between the point of impact and the vehicle’s final resting spot
- Personal property that was jettisoned from the vehicle during the collision
- Any vehicular damage (to any vehicle involved in the crash)
Photo and video evidence will often be collected at the scene as well. Investigators will often take photographs of the accident scene from various angles to capture the full scope of the accident. They may also usually take close-up photographs of the damage to any vehicles and injuries sustained by victims.
Accident reconstruction is the process of examining, analyzing, and determining the cause of a motor vehicle accident. Accident reconstruction experts use math and physics to conclude the speed each car traveled before the collision and their relative positions leading up to the crash.
Accident reconstruction experts examine a range of issues, such as:
- The vehicle’s direction of travel before and after the crash
- How far the vehicles travel from the point of impact
- Measurements of skid marks at the scene
- The point of collision, the angle at which the collision occurred, and the weight of each vehicle involved
If you are a victim of a car accident in Long Island, then it is vital to consult with a car accident attorney. An attorney may decide to consult with an accident reconstruction expert to help establish liability in your case. An attorney will also be able to collect other important evidence that proves negligence on the part of the other motorist and helps bolster your case.
How Can A Car Accident Attorney Help Me?
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident that another motorist caused, then you could be entitled to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. To demonstrate liability, you will need to consult with an experienced car accident attorney, who will have the time and skills to thoroughly investigate the accident on your behalf while you recover from your injuries.
Your Long Island personal injury attorney will be able to gather and preserve important evidence on your behalf, obtain a copy of the police report, consult with independent investigators to help establish the other driver’s liability, document and calculate damages you are owed, and negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. The insurance company’s investigation will likely result in a settlement figure that is less than generous. By spearheading an independent investigation, your attorney will be able to establish liability and ensure that you have the proof you need to seek the settlement you actually deserve.
If you have been severely injured in a car accident on Long Island, contact the attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.