The vast majority of the time, police arrive on-scene well after the occurrence of a traffic crash and therefore have no first-hand knowledge of the events involved. Such events can range from mere fender-benders to major, multi-car incidents causing death and complete destruction of vehicles. Incidents involving several cars and therefore, several different impact events, can be difficult to investigate and determine what happened.

When accidents happen on the roadways, police are charged with determining what happened, and assigning fault, which might be distributed among more than one motorist.

Determining cause

A causal factor is the conditions, driver behaviors, or events that contributed to the creation of the accident. Causal factors can be either singular occurrences or multiple events acting in concert. Examples are speeding by the at-fault motorist, oil spilled on a roadway around a curve causing loss of traction, or both. Some causes can take weeks to determine, such as the presence of narcotics in the blood of an at-fault motorist as shown by a toxicology report.

Witness testimony

Although often neither available nor reliable, witness testimony can prove valuable to responding accident investigators in uncovering the events involved in the accident.

Video footage

Video footage might be available from nearby businesses, intersection cameras, or dash cameras used by private citizens in their own vehicles. Video footage is some of the most conclusive and forceful evidence available. Considering them a de-facto insurance policy, many sharp motorists are purchasing and installing these cameras in their vehicles to protect against both fraudulent accident claims and otherwise improper assignments of guilt associated with a traffic crash.

Skid marks

When vehicles brake abruptly, the tires either lock up, ceasing all spinning movement, or spin slower than the pavement moves under them. In either case, the tires scrape the pavement and leave a black mark. Trained accident investigators can identify the vehicle creating these marks and to determine the speed of the vehicle at the time the braking began. Speeding and improperly entering the right of way of another vehicle are leading causes of traffic accidents and are readily revealed by these tire tracks.

Plastic, glass, or other pieces of vehicles along with their placement pattern on the ground

Fragments of vehicles break away upon impact and continue to travel according to Newton’s laws. These pieces can be traced back to the vehicle from which they came and demonstrate both points of impact and direction of travel.

Examination of the vehicles, themselves

Clues to the events involved in the accident are contained on and within the vehicles, themselves. Among other clues, paint is swapped between two colliding vehicles showing points of impact between the two vehicles.

Get experienc ed legal representation to avoid criminal conviction

If you or a loved one has been involved in a traffic crash, you might need experienced legal assistance to protect against misplaced fault that can cost large sums of money and endanger driving privileges, or to recover for injuries and property damage. While police usually do a good job of forensically determining the events involved in a traffic crash, they can make mistakes, especially when evidence is paltry. Further, police reports will not contain many crucial bits of evidence that can be revealed by a skilled and experienced attorney. For example, corroborating witnesses who pose as bystanders and claim to be strangers to one of the vehicles involved might actually be complicit with fraudulent accident creators. A subpoena of the phone records of such dishonest witnesses can begin to unravel the bogus accident scheme and refute the claims of those who set up accidents purposely, claim false injuries, and frame the innocent motorist involved in an effort to gain profit from the insurance companies, but overzealous investigators can incorrectly accuse innocent parties of fraud. If you have been accused of causing an accident or making a fraudulent claim, contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Nahajski Firm at (206) 621-0500 for a free and confidential initial consultation.