When a car accident occurs, there is a lot of confusion. People often fail to remember details. Oftentimes, there are conflicting versions of what happened from different individuals. Worse yet, it is quite common for Newport Beach car accident lawyers to see one party fabricate a story to avoid liability. This is why it is important to gather details from the scene of the accident when it happens immediately.
Over time, evidence may be lost, damaged or tampered with. Newport Beach car accident attorneys understand the importance of a timely investigation of the accident scene. Doing so can reveal details about the chain of events leading up to what caused the accident to occur.
In many instances, law enforcement will respond to an accident scene. Newport Beach car accident lawyers will always obtain a copy of the police report that was created by the responding officer. However, police reports seldom go into great detail and unfortunately are quite often inaccurate. Not every police officer is trained in accident reconstruction. If relevant data is not gathered or incorrect measurements are taken, the report may be inconclusive as to who was at fault or the report could simply be wrong.
Individuals at the scene who witnessed the accident may have seen some or all of the events occurring before and at the time of the crash. While it is important and necessary to closely examine their statements and deposition testimony, Newport Beach car accident lawyers also realize witnesses may not have seen everything, may have faulty memories, and are sometimes biased. Eye witness accounts can be useful if verified and corroborated by the physical evidence gathered at the scene.
Photos serve several valuable purposes for Newport Beach car accident attorneys. Initially, they are essential in objectively evaluating the accident scene; where was the point of impact, from which directions were the cars coming from, which directions were they headed to, and the position of traffic signals or stop signs all provide an overview. More detailed photographs can focus on pre-impact tire marks and post-impact tire marks, which can help determine vehicle speed and the precise direction the vehicle was moving in.
Once the theory of the case has been established, photographs are useful as the case proceeds through its various stages. They are very helpful in assisting the parties, the witnesses, and the police officers who responded refresh their memories, whether in deposition or trial, if necessary. Additionally, Newport Beach car accident lawyers find photographs can be extremely persuasive in settlement talks. Often, with a complete photographic record, other solid evidence gathered at the scene and the laws of physics, there can be little doubt as to which party is liable.
The police report most often gives a one-line description of the weather, but there are some circumstances when more is needed. This information can be verified or supplemented with local newspaper reports or weather service information. If possible, an investigation of the scene in similar conditions as to when the accident occurred can be helpful. Adverse weather has a large impact on road conditions and visibility and it is incumbent on each driver to operate their motor vehicle in a safe manner no matter what the weather conditions may be.
There are a number of roadway factors that come into play in determining whether the road itself was a contributing factor in the accident. Among the considerations are the road designs, the road wear, the type of construction materials, the frictional properties, elevation, horizontal and vertical curvature, maintenance and many others.
Maintenance issues typically involve government agencies, who often invoke claims of sovereign immunity to these matters. Nevertheless, a municipality may be liable if potholes, overgrown trees, faded road hazard signs, or construction debris is found to be a contributing cause of the accident.
Lighting is the first consideration in nighttime accidents. Many people overestimate the distance they can see at night and headlights may be inadequate to illuminate the potential for crashes on the road. Lighting can be an issue during the daytime as well, particularly at sunrise or sunset and in the spring and fall when the sun is lower in the sky. Inspecting the accident scene at the precise time of day when the incident occurred will help determine the effect lighting may have had on any driver involved.
Traffic signals and signs should be examined if one of the drivers claims they did not see or ignored a traffic control signal. The timing can be established to indicate precisely how long, in seconds, it was when one signal turned green and the other one turned red.
The information gathered from an on-site accident investigation can provide the tools for a reconstruction of the events. Report findings, diagrams or animations may be used by expert witnesses to recreate the events.
Issues in auto accidents can be complex. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the insurance company is on your side. Insurance is a business that depends on quick, low settlements for their profitability. You need an independent advocate who will fight to recover all that you have lost. Call Russell & Lazarus APC, Newport Beach car accident attorneys, at (949) 851-0222.