Police are typically the first people on the scene of a fatal car crash. After securing the scene, one of their primary responsibilities is to investigate. If you or someone you love were involved in the accident, this can be incredibly stressful as you’re waiting for answers, and many people don’t know what to do.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a fatal accident, you need someone on your side. The fatal car accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can help you navigate the investigation, protect your rights, and recover the compensation you may be entitled to.
What are the Police Looking For after a Fatal Accident
When investigating a fatal car accident, the police are trying to establish what happened and ultimately, what caused the crash. They will interview the drivers involved and any witnesses. They will take down the facts and document the scene through extensive photographs. They will also look at details like skid marks and vehicle damage to determine speed and direction.
An experienced accident investigator will be able to provide a fairly accurate recreation and establish the underlying cause.
Some of the causes that police can accurately identify are:
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving
- Running a red light or stop sign
Once their investigation is complete, the police will generate an accident report that will contain a detailed account and identify what they believe caused it.
Understand the Limitations of the Police Report
While the police are competent accident investigators, their reports are not necessarily the final word on what happened in a fatal car accident. The report may contain errors or inaccuracies – police officers are human and can make mistakes just like anyone else, and have several competing responsibilities at the scene of an accident.
In a wrongful death suit, you are often trying to prove that the driver who caused the accident was negligent. The police are often focused on whether one of the drivers committed a traffic violation or otherwise broke the law, which is not necessarily the same thing.
As a result, they may miss the actual cause of the accident, or fail to account for other circumstances that caused the accident. Furthermore, if the police do not find that the other driver broke the law, the report can be somewhat unhelpful in establishing liability.
Why You Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been involved in a fatal car accident, it’s best if you at least talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. The police may be willing to help, but they don’t have any specific obligation to you. You need to understand your rights and your options before it’s too late.
A lawyer can also conduct their own independent investigation. Because they represent your interests, you can rest assured that they will give careful consideration to all of the facts, and identify potential issues that the police overlooked. They also can hire an independent accident specialist who can provide further assistance in establishing who is at fault in the accident.
Time is of the Essence after a Fatal Accident
Under Texas law, the spouse, children, or parents of the victim of a fatal car accident have only two years to file a wrongful death claim. If you don’t file your lawsuit within this period, you may lose your right to pursue any compensation, no matter how strong your case may be.
Two years may sound like a lot of time, but it goes by fast. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to investigate the accident, collect evidence, and interview witnesses. You do not need to wait until the police have determined fault or the insurance company has denied your claim. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the stronger your wrongful death case will be.
Contact a Houston Fatal Car Accident Lawyer
If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident in Houston, The Kirst Law Firm, P.C. can help. We know how to overcome the challenges involved in these cases to get you the compensation you deserve.