When a serious
car accident occurs, it is not always evident which driver (or other party) may have
been at fault. And even when fault seems easy to determine, it must be
proven if a victim is to seek financial compensation from the responsible
party. There are a number of steps in any car accident investigation that
can help determine cause and therefore liability. Law enforcement will
conduct an investigation, as may a driver's auto insurance provider
and a victim's personal injury attorney. Here we will take a look
at these investigations and the information they can reveal.
Las Vegas Metro Police Investigations
Law enforcement is typically called to the scene of serious and fatal auto
accidents. In Las Vegas, Metro Police's fatal detail is responsible
for investigating these collisions. Members of the team may be called
at any time, day or night, to investigate the aftermath. Three officers
are typically dispatched to an accident scene, with one taking lead as
the other two document evidence and interview witnesses. This may include:
- Photographing and marking debris, skid marks, damage to the vehicles and
other physical evidence;
- Measuring skid marks;
- Getting witness accounts of the accident;
- Getting a warrant to review vehicles' computers, which contain information
regarding airbag deployment, seat belt use and sometimes additional data
that can contribute to an investigation; and
Blood samples if a driver who is suspected of
Using this information, Metro Police investigators can create a diagram
of the accident and can use specific algebraic equations to determine
the sequence of events leading to the collision. For example, did a driver
swerve to avoid a collision? Did a driver attempt to use his or her brakes?
Which driver actually struck the other driver? At what speed was each
vehicle traveling, and at what point did each driver react to the impending
collision? All of these questions can be answered.
The information and evidence recovered by Metro Police may prove essential
in any resulting car accident insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
This information may also be used to pursue criminal charges against the
at-fault driver, when applicable. If the driver is accused of driving
under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), leaving the scene of the
accident (hit-and-run) or another crime, Metro Police's investigation
can be used to prove guilt.
Insurance companies and personal injury attorneys often conduct independent
investigations when it comes to serious car accidents. Insurance adjusters
and investigators from personal injury firms may arrive on the scene as
quickly as or even before law enforcement, depending on the case. They
may begin taking photographs and documenting evidence without interfering
with Metro Police's investigation (special care must be taken if it
is being treated as a criminal case, as impeding such an investigation
is a crime in itself).
When a victim involves a personal injury lawyer later in the process, an
investigation can still be conducted, though it may be approached in a
slightly different manner. Evidence and information collected by Metro
Police, along with police reports detailing investigation, can be carefully
reviewed for accuracy. Additional evidence can be sought out and witnesses
can be re-interviewed to see if any new details emerge. Accident reconstruction
experts can use the data collected by law enforcement to conduct their
own recreation of the collision by hand or using computer software. Accessibility
to such evidence and police reports may vary depending on the situation,
but an attorney should know how to seek out such information.
Motor vehicle accident investigations need to be thorough and conducted
as quickly after a collision as possible to yield the best results. If
you would like to find out the steps a Las Vegas personal injury attorney
at Shook & Stone can take to conduct an investigation into your collision,
please call our offices. We fight for car accident victims across Las
Vegas and throughout Nevada.