How Do Police Officers Investigate a Fatal Car Accident in California?
Car accidents can occur in an instant, and in certain cases, they can result in fatalities. Coping with grief after a car accident is no walk in the park either, especially for unprotected accident victims. For example, cyclists and pedestrians are the individuals who remain at particular risk of being killed in a car accident. This is due to the fact they are not protected by a metal frame offered by a motor vehicle.
A motorcycle rider or person on foot can also be hit in the head and killed by a flying or falling object loosed as part of the debris field in a serious impact auto accident. Suppose you have lost a loved one in a tragic auto collision. In that case, it remains essential to understand the police investigation process for fatal car accidents. This article will provide a detailed look at the steps involved in such investigations, the role of a car accident attorney in the process, and how you can pursue and recover compensation for your injuries and fatal losses in the state of California.
Fatal Car Accident Scene Investigation Process
Fatal car accident investigations involve many steps to reconstruct the events leading up to the crash.
Every accident and injury will be different. But generally, the responding officers investigating the damage will go by the following steps:
Inspection of the Accident Scene
The officer responding to the accident scene will make initial observations and speak with those involved. They will assess the severity of the injuries and request medical personnel to document them accordingly.
Speak With the Other Drivers and Percipient Witnesses
The EMT and emergency personnel will normally assist the victims. Law enforcement agents are tasked to preserve evidence and gather witness statements from individuals involved in the incident and anyone present at the accident scene.
Gather Pertinent Evidence Related to the Accident
The police will attempt to record the facts surrounding the accident, including using a tape measure, snapping accident scene photographs, measuring and photographing tire skid marks, and documenting body damage to vehicles and other objects involved at the accident location. The officers will also document any injuries to the dead victim’s body and how it came to rest. Any other pertinent details will also be recorded for use by the DA or Coroner.
Inspect Vehicles for Damage
The initial police investigations will involve a thorough approach. The officer making the report will thoroughly examine the vehicle damage to make a damage assessment and look at vehicle components like worn-out vehicle brakes and bald tires. If these are damaged or worn, this goes into the police report.
Document Contributing Factors Involving the Vehicle Crash
The officers will try and uncover any variable contributing to the wreck, such as bad weather, traffic violations, and congestion, as well as vehicle speeds. As noted about, the vehicle and parts condition will be documented. Also, the officers will investigate whether drugs or alcohol were involved. Sometimes, your car accident hires a professional accident reconstruction expert or biomechanic to evaluate the crash and roadworthiness of the cars prior to the crash.
Police Officer Must Determine Criminality
Law enforcement makes an assessment of any criminal acts that caused such a fatal accident. Factors include speeding, DUI, safety violations, or hours of service violations. Charges and penalties might be more severe if criminal acts played a role in the accident-causing event.
Draft a Car Accident Collision Report
States like California and New York policies including creating a fatal traffic accident report no later than ten days of the investigation. The CHP calls it a traffic collision investigation report, but other agencies with a municipal police department may use other names to reference the report. When there is a dead person, photographing the scene and other procedures like taking tape measurements are typically undergone by the responding police officers investigating the motor vehicle collision.
The report will include details such as:
- Time, date, and place of the accident
- Vehicle make, year, and model descriptions
- Names and addresses of all witnesses and parties
- Medical services rendered to anyone injured
- Hospital emergency room data
- Identifying information of the reporting officer with responsibility for overseeing the investigation.
Witness information, testimonies, photos, and evidence recovered from the accident scene should be attached to the final police report.
The job of a Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney?
Fatal car accidents take an emotional toll on victims and their families. Properly supervising the investigation, dealing with funeral homes, and managing grief can be stressful. Retaining a superior personal injury attorney to represent survivors in administering legal and insurance issues can reduce the plaintiff’s stressful burden during this sad time of bereavement. Also, interfacing with government officials is far easier when the victim has the helpful assistance of a top-rated lawyer to protect their interests.
Schedule a Call With a Game-Changing Injury Lawyer
Crash investigations and police reports are often flawed and often require a thorough investigation and brief synopsis by a third party to accurately document fault in such incidents. Ehline Law Firm’s compassionate auto accident attorneys understand the pain and agony of losing a loved one and are here to support you through this difficult period. Our compassionate legal team will deal with insurance adjusters and build insurance claims. They will also address any novel issues of law that arise. Last, we will order police reports and potentially even hire professional accident scene investigators.
Our goal is to allow you to focus on physical and mental healing and recovery. Our main task is to help you recover as much compensation as possible. If you are a survivor seeking compensation, you deserve it for your incident due to the negligent actions of others. We are available 24/7 to help you establish what happened despite what the police report says that isn’t in your favor. Contact us today for a free case evaluation of your family member’s fatal accident or police report by dialing (213) 596-9642.