What Are the Steps Involved in Any Accident Investigation?
Anytime a vehicle accident occurs in Illinois, there will most likely be some sort of investigation related to the incident. Most crashes are reported to law enforcement officials who come to the scene, conduct an initial investigation, and fill out an accident report. However, that is not always where the investigation ends. Sometimes, there are other steps involved.
The Investigation at the Scene
At the scene of an accident, there are no specific steps for a crash victim to take. Rather, the focus needs to be on ensuring safety at the scene and seeking treatment for any injuries that may have occurred. Officially, the police will be the ones to conduct the initial investigation. However, it is not uncommon for individuals to use their phones or other devices to take photographs of everything they see at the incident. They can even take video surveillance of everything around the area.
Depending on the jurisdiction where the crash occurs, a police officer will come to the scene and work to determine what happened. They will fill out an accident report and submit it to their department or to the state, and this accident report can be obtained later on as part of the insurance settlement or an ongoing personal injury civil trial.
An accident report will typically include information related to the incident, such as details of the vehicles involved, damage and injuries that occurred, and insurance information. An accident report will likely include a drawn diagram of the incident, which will show the location, path of the vehicles, and the areas of impact on the vehicles.
In some cases, an officer may craft a narrative explaining their findings or drawing conclusions about how the incident may have occurred.
Investigations by Insurance Carriers or Attorneys
The initial investigation is not where the investigation will stop. There will likely be continued inquiries by insurance carriers or attorneys, particularly for incidents that result in significant injuries and property damage. Insurance carriers do not want to pay out compensation if they can avoid doing so, so they will most likely conduct their own investigation, which can be incredibly intensive, depending on the situation.
Attorneys for a defendant or plaintiff will also conduct investigations to help best serve their client. Not only will they obtain the information already gathered by other parties, but they may bring in their own accident reconstruction experts to help show what happened.
Possible Criminal Investigations
There are various scenarios where there will be criminal investigations into a vehicle accident in Illinois. This will include situations where suspected impaired driving is involved or when the other driver was operating recklessly or intentionally caused a collision. A criminal investigation could slow the process of recovering compensation through an insurance settlement or through a civil lawsuit. Your personal injury lawyer will work to obtain information gathered during the criminal investigation so that they can move forward with securing compensation on your behalf.
We strongly encourage you to reach out to a skilled Chicago car accident attorney if you have any questions about the investigation of your car accident. These incidents can be confusing, but with an advocate by your side, you will have the best chance of recovering the compensation you are entitled to.