Car Accidents and the Initial Investigation

When the worst happens and you are involved in a car accident, you may be unaware of what is happening at the scene. Several things may be occurring at once and what looks like chaos to you is really the amazing work of first responders doing their jobs to protect you and others. While you are being whisked off to the hospital, the accident scene is being cleared and there is an investigation being initiated. Read on to find out more about what is investigated and what it might mean for your case.

On the Scene Signs

All accidents leave behind clues. These clues provide information about things like speed, braking, the direction of travel, impacts, and more. One major clue is skid marks. When braking occurs suddenly, it can leave marks on the pavement or even on the roadside. Speaking of the roadside, signs, markers, benches, ditches, and even homes and businesses along the roadside can show signs of an impact. Finally, the vehicles themselves can tell a story about the wreck. The positioning of the cars and the location of the damage on the exterior can reveal a lot about the way a wreck happened.

The Initial Investigator

The responding officer may also conduct the initial investigation—it just depends on how duties are assigned. Sometimes it's the highway patrol (state troopers), sometimes it's the city police and it can also be the sheriff's department. Unless the accident is just a fender-bender, someone will be conducting an investigation. Take a look at what they will be looking at in addition to the clues mentioned above.

  • Alcohol or drugs: Many accidents are caused by those under the influence and the presence of empties along with the sights and smells the officers are trained to recognize will be noted. In most cases, those under the influence are arrested either at the scene or later if they are injured.
  • Distractions and Weather: Note the time of day, weather conditions, and road construction. All of those can cause wrecks and influence fault. If either driver was using a cell phone or otherwise distracted, that will be noted as well.
  • Eye-witnesses: If the officer can find an onlooker who saw the accident, their statement will be gathered along with the statements of the drivers and passengers in all the involved vehicles.

When it comes time to be compensated for the accident, the information above will not just come in handy but will provide valuable information. Fortunately, all of the above can be contained in a single form available to interested parties soon after the accident. The accident or police report can be found by contacting the responding authority. To find out more about the part the initial investigation plays, speak to an auto accident lawyer.