When you’re involved in a car wreck, there will usually be a police investigation into the cause of the wreck, provided it is severe enough that the investigation is merited. This will not always happen; in the case of a simple fender-bender, for instance.
How Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
There are some things about these investigations that you should know if you’re planning on suing the driver who caused the wreck. The investigation that the police will conduct will not the same as the one a personal injury attorney will conduct and those differences are vital to whether or not you win a case.
Criminal vs. Civil
When law enforcement conducts an investigation into a car crash, they’re looking for instances of criminal conduct. They may, for instance, need to establish that the driver who caused the wreck did so because they were drunk. When the police handle this investigation, they’re not trying to assess whether or not the driver that caused the accident owes you any money because of it. (see previous blog: Civil vs Criminal)
An attorney, on the other hand, will be looking for signs of negligence. Drunk driving is always negligent, but there are other forms of negligence that the attorney may look for that the police may not be interested in.
For instance, if the attorney’s investigation shows that the driver who struck you applied brakes too late to prevent the collision, that may be something they can argue as negligent in front of a jury. They may also look for signs that the other driver did not keep an adequate lookout. Their cell phone, for instance, may show that they were texting at the time of the accident and not looking where they were driving.
If you have a personal injury attorney, they’ll use whatever they can from the police report regarding the accident. It may not give them everything they need, however, and they may well want to conduct their own investigation. These investigations are very sophisticated these days, sometimes even using computer recreations to determine what happened when the accident took place.
Remember that your attorney may need to look more deeply into the causes of whatever accident you were in than would the police. This is part of their job and its part of how they serve their clients best. Call the police, but don’t count on them to find out whether the other driver was actually negligent or not.