Fatal car accidents happen in an instant. However, the emotional, psychological, and financial impacts on the deceased’s loved ones are often life-altering and far-reaching. This is why it can be frustrating to watch investigations draw on for weeks or even months.
Car accident investigators need to be meticulous. They have to inspect every aspect of the collision and collect the necessary evidence. In this article, we answer the question; how long does it take to investigate a fatal car accident?
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal car accident; an experienced Car Accident Attorney can inform you of your rights, obligations, and legal options.
When Is Investigating a Car Accident Necessary?
The investigation is often a lengthy and detailed process. Generally, all fatal car accidents or those that include injury are investigated. Other circumstances that could call for police attendance include where:
- A driver is suspected to have been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- There are allegations of a traffic offense.
- The accident has caused a road obstruction.
Initial Response at the Accident Scene
Investigation begins at the scene of the crash. After any injured or deceased victims have been taken away by emergency services, the investigators will tape off the area. They will then seek to determine fault and how the accident happened by examining the scene. This will include searching for tell-tale signs such as tire skid marks and destroyed property or guardrails around the scene.
Next, the investigators will collect and record information about the accident, such as:
- Location of the accident scene
- The identity, address, and contact information of willing witnesses
- The witnesses’ first accounts
- Fist description of suspects
Collecting Vehicle Information
Once the investigators are done with the scene, the vehicles involved will be towed. They will then be stored in a safe area and made subject to evidence collection. Investigators will proceed to do the following:
- Obtain evidence from the vehicle computers – This includes information on whether the driver had their seatbelts on, the speed of the vehicle, and any attempts to brake.
- Verify the restraints were in good working condition
- Document vehicle damage
Witness interviews are usually conducted within 10 days of the accident. This is to ensure the witness’s recollection of the accident is still fresh. Typically, the investigators will ask questions about the accident and the drivers involved. Family members of the deceased or a liaison can also be called on for a statement.
If there were allegations of intoxicated driving, the investigators could collect blood samples at the scene. These will take close to 2 weeks to be processed by the lab and return results.
Talk to a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney
How long does it take to investigate a fatal car accident? A standard investigation can last anywhere from a few weeks to 2 months. While this might seem too long of a wait, your patience will often be rewarded. You and your attorney can use the evidence gathered to present your case.
Have you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident due to another party’s negligence? The attorneys at Ponton Law would like to help you get the compensation you deserve for your misery.
Contact us today to talk to an expert Car Accident Attorney.