As time fades, so do memories.
The best time to conduct an accident investigation is immediately following an accident, or as soon thereafter as possible. For a car and truck accident law firm such as ours, we want to be able to investigate an accident scene before it has changed. We also want to be able to interview witnesses to the accident.
In the case of law enforcement, some officers who investigate traffic incidents do so at the rate of up to 25 incidents per week. Tow truck drivers and EMTs may have similar involvement. As a result, it may be hard for even these professionals to remember specific details about an accident. And, like others, their memory is likely to fade as time passes. This is the case even in accidents involving quadriplegia and death.
Law Enforcement Investigation Reports
In many instances, officers are not required to perform a standard “accident investigation” unless a fatality is involved. Even more surprising is the fact that in many of the “busier” jurisdictions, even when a fatality is involved, department policy does not require an in‑depth “investigation,” much less a formal “reconstruction.”
As a result, officers, eyewitnesses, EMTs, and other potential key witnesses should be interviewed, and in some instances, asked to sign affidavits. This should be done while a case is being evaluated so that a record is made while facts are still fresh in the witnesses’ minds.
These witnesses can also become harder to find as time goes passes. They may also carry with them key evidence concerning accident reconstruction, as well as irreplaceable damage evidence, such as evidence of the conscious pain and suffering of a decedent.
Example – Auto Manufacturer Defects Case
In an auto manufacturer defects case, it is important to know the seating position of occupants present in the vehicle involved. This information is helpful in determining the movement of the occupants in the vehicle at the time of the collision and how the injuries were caused.
Loading of the vehicle is another issue that needs to be documented by witness statements, especially in rollover cases. While these vehicles are often advertised and marketed as cargo vehicles, increased weight on top of the vehicle like the luggage rack raises the vehicle’s center of gravity. In a roll-over case, the defense lawyers may use this fact is showing that it was the driver who caused the vehicle to become unsafe.
Likewise, it is important to document seat belt use to determine if there is a potential seat belt case against the manufacturer or to avoid a defense that a seat belt was not used. Other auto manufacturer defects, including tire defects, breaks, handling, power‑steering failure, air bags, childcare seats, and other product failure, are heavily dependent on witness testimony.
In road and highway defect design and road maintenance defect cases, local resident and emergency personnel that responded to the scene may have critical information that may be lost if not documented quickly. Traffic or construction delays, inadequate signage, other accidents in area, near‑miss cases, or personal tales about damage to their cars from roadway drop‑offs are all important to document quickly.
When An Accident Occurs, We Seek to Interview Critical Witnesses As Soon After the Accident As Possible
This helps us better understand the factors involved in causing the accident, and helping to build your case.
If you’ve been injured were in love one has been killed in an accident, I invite you to call our firm so that we can meet with you at your earliest convenience and learn about the facts and circumstances of your case.
Our firm represents clients on a contingency fee basis, which means that there are no fees to us unless and until we recover for you. At this consultation I can explain how we will work hard to identify all those who may be legally responsible for your accident and injuries, and to prove each and every aspect of you case in seeking to obtain for you maximum compensation for you injuries.