Injury and fatal car accidents are common in Los Angeles. There were 35,549 people killed or injured in car crashes in Los Angeles in 2019. The city ranked first out of the 15 cities in California that had populations over 250,000.
When a traffic accident results in a fatality, it is important to contact a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer. Fatal car crashes require comprehensive investigations.
The families of fatal car accident victims can recover compensation for damages by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. First, you need evidence to prove that the other driver caused the car crash to hold them responsible for your loved one’s death.
Fatal Car Accident Investigation Procedure in Los Angeles
Drivers are required to immediately report any car accident involving injury or death to law enforcement authorities. Calling 911 is the quickest way to report the crash and request medical assistance. When a person sustains catastrophic injuries in a car crash, receiving immediate medical care could mean the difference between surviving and dying.
Who Investigates Car Accidents in Los Angeles?
After a car crash, law enforcement officers conduct the car accident scene investigation. The law enforcement agency assigned to investigate the car accident depends on where the crash occurred. The emergency operator dispatches police officers from the agency with jurisdiction over the crash location.
How Do Police Investigate Car Accidents?
When police officers arrive at the accident scene, they make initial observations. Then, they may assist with emergency services to ensure that all accident victims receive medical care.
The police officer will talk with everyone involved in the accident if their injuries do not prevent them from talking to the officer. The officer will also interview all witnesses at the accident scene and note the details provided by the witnesses.
Police officers work to preserve evidence at the accident scene until it can be secured.
The officer notes details about the accident scene, such as:
- Date and time of the crash
- Location of the crash
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
- Vehicle body damage
- Whether alcohol or drug use may be involved
- Locations of the victims after the crash
- Skid marks and other damage caused by the crash
- Location of road signs and traffic signals
- The estimated speed of the vehicles
Law enforcement agents also take photographs of the accident scene. Fatal car accident investigations are more in-depth than other traffic crash reports. Therefore, it could take hours to complete the investigations, and several agencies may be involved.
Law enforcement officers will try to determine whether one of the drivers committed a criminal act that led to the fatal car crash. For example, they may determine that the at-fault driver was driving at excessive speeds or under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The officer might determine that a truck driver was driving over the hours of service limit.
If the officers find probable cause for a crime, they may arrest the driver. The criminal case would be separate from a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family.
The investigating officer must file an accident report within ten days after completing the investigation of a fatal traffic accident. The accident report contains detailed information about the accident, the investigation, and preliminary findings of fault. The family’s Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer can request a copy of the report.
What Does a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyer Do to Help After a Fatal Car Accident?
When you hire a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer, the attorney will conduct an independent accident investigation. They may begin by obtaining a copy of the police report. Then, the lawyer may hire an accident reconstructionist and other experts to assist with the investigation.
Some of the steps the attorney may take include:
- Reviewing photographs, videos, and evidence from the accident scene
- Having the vehicle inspected to determine if there were unsafe conditions or a defect that could have contributed to the cause of the crash
- Reviewing eyewitness statements and conducting more in-depth witness interviews
- Hiring an accident reconstructionist and independent experts to recreate the accident to identify the factors that contributed to the fatal crash
- Identifying the parties who contributed to the cause of the crash
- Verifying insurance coverage and filing insurance claims
- Continuing to gather evidence to prove causation, fault, and liability
- Monitoring investigations and any criminal cases
- Working with the family to document and value damages
- Preparing and filing a wrongful death lawsuit against all responsible parties
A lawyer handles all matters related to a fatal car accident lawsuit. The attorney will provide legal advice, guidance, and support for the family members.
Many wrongful death claims settle through negotiations with the other party. If not, the lawyer will prepare for trial and aggressively argue the matter in court. The goal is to obtain justice for your family and the person you lost.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our auto accident lawyers in Los Angeles, CA at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.