When a person is seriously injured or loses his or her life in a car accident, an investigation will typically ensue. Whichever law enforcement agency has jurisdiction will often conduct an investigation to determine whether an illegal act took place that should result in criminal charges. Independent investigators hired by insurance companies and law firms may also investigate the collision to determine fault and therefore financial responsibility.
A car accident investigation usually starts with an inspection and analysis of the scene of the collision. Investigators may photograph and measure skid marks, final resting positions of the vehicles involved, and any damage to the roadway, street signs, and guardrails or nearby structures. The position of debris will also be photographed and noted. Investigators can input the measurements and other data into a computer to generate an accurate diagram of the scene.
Investigators will also inspect the vehicles that were involved in the collision. They may document damage each vehicle has sustained and will also look at mechanical components of the vehicles, such as brakes, steering, tires, suspension, lights, etc. to determine whether any of these malfunctioned or may have contributed to the collision. In newer vehicles and in commercial trucks where recordings may have been made, in-vehicle computer systems may also show what occurred before and at the time of impact.
In addition to analyzing the scene and vehicles, a car accident investigation may include interviewing witnesses, reviewing police records and reports and looking at additional evidence such as driver log books, inspection or repair logs, and more.
Using all information gathered at the scene, from the vehicles involved, any photographs or video footage of the collision, witness accounts and more, investigators can reconstruct the accident. This can be shown using special computer programs that use specific mathematical formulas to calculate speed, driver response such as braking, impact and the results of the collision. This can show a clear picture of exactly how the accident took place and what happened in the moments leading up to the collision.
Because Wisconsin employs a fault-based system for car accident cases, a thorough investigation is a crucial part of any claim or lawsuit. A victim will need to prove that the other driver (or other at-fault parties) caused the collision, and an investigation will be the only way to determine exactly what occurred. Though law enforcement may conduct an investigation if someone has been severely injured or killed, you will need someone on your side to investigate the accident and represent your interests as you pursue financial compensation for your injuries.
At Cannon & Dunphy S.C. car accident investigations are an essential part of the legal representation we provide to collision victims across Wisconsin. Our Milwaukee car accident attorneys work with investigators, accident reconstruction professionals and experts in various fields to accurately determine the cause and assign liability in motor vehicle accident claims and lawsuits. This includes cases involving such causes as drunk driving, drugged driving, driver negligence, speeding, distracted driving, roadway hazards, defective auto parts and more.
Once we know who should be held liable, or legally responsible, for a client’s injuries, we can then pursue financial compensation from that individual or company. It may be another driver, in which case damages will typically be paid through his or her auto insurance policy. In some cases, it may be a car manufacturer for a defective vehicle or vehicle part, or perhaps a government entity for a defective roadway. Regardless of the direction, the case takes, our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys have the resources to seek justice against the responsible party – or parties.
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