Investigating Ohio Car Accidents: What the Police Do At the Scene

Feb 24, 2020 Car Accidents    Ohio Personal Injury

Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC

After a car accident, one of the first things you should do is call the police. If anyone is injured, call 911 so first responders can arrive as quickly as possible.

Even without injuries, you still need an officer to investigate the accident and write a police report. This initial investigation is vital to determining fault and liability. It also serves as evidence in your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

If you are hurt in a car crash, reach out to a skilled Ohio car accident attorney. Our team at Kisling, Nestico & Redick has years of experience assisting clients and helping them seek compensation for injuries they have sustained.

Do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-HURT-NOW to set up a no-cost case evaluation.

Arriving at the Scene

When a police officer arrives at a crash scene, their priority is safety. They will ensure that each individual involved moves to a safe area. This may include calling for additional responders, like firefighters, paramedics, other police, or utility workers. The officer may also begin to control traffic by putting out cones and flares or hand-directing traffic.

The officer will also gather or confirm preliminary information, including:

  • The location of the accident
  • Weather conditions
  • Road conditions
  • Date and time of the crash
  • Time the police were notified
  • Who called the police and how
  • The number of vehicles in the accident
  • The type of vehicles and names of those involved

A car accident investigation begins by gathering the who, what, where, when, and how. Once the basic facts are established, the officer can investigate further. This when things like speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving become clear.

Gathering Driver & Witness Statements

After ensuring everyone is safe, officers work to determine if one or more individuals violated a traffic law. To do this, the police will speak with each driver separately, passengers, and other witnesses about what occurred and what they witnessed. Not only will the officer listen to each statement, but they will also ask questions to obtain more information.

During these conversations, an officer will record their observations. For example, an officer will note an individual’s physical and mental state. This may include signs of shock or inebriation.

Documenting Vehicle Conditions, Paths, and Positions

An officer will inspect and record the condition of the vehicles. This including where the damage appears. The police will document where the cars seem to have collided, such as head-on or in a T-bone fashion. They will note where the body of the car has been scratched, dented, or removed. Officers will also record other significant facts, like a flat tire or broken glass.

An officer will thoroughly document where each vehicle came to rest. This may include a written description of the positions, a diagram, sketches, photos, or videos. Officers often use diagrams to mark where skid or scrape marks were left on the ground. To create these, an officer may take measurements. In addition, the police also look for and record the position of metal, plastic, and other debris from the accident.

Once an officer documents the vehicles’ final positions, they retrace the cars’ paths. This includes which roads the vehicles were traveling down, their direction, and any relevant traffic signs or signals.

Protecting Vulnerable Evidence

After a collision, there may be evidence that could easily be damaged, destroyed, altered, or removed from the scene. It is a high priority for an officer to identify this vulnerable or fragile evidence, document its type and position, and protect it. Examples include puddles of gasoline or oil, the position of a turn signal, or alcohol bottles in or around a vehicle.

Calculating Crash Variables

Depending on the collision, officers may need to determine various things like the vehicles’ speed. However, officers likely won’t perform complex calculations. Instead, if there are questions regarding what happened and who was at fault, your attorney may hire an accident reconstructionist to calculate the various factors more accurately. This allows you to present the evidence in court if necessary.

Contact KNR After a Crash

If you suffered injuries in a car accident, call an experienced car accident lawyer at Kisling, Nestico & Redick as soon as possible. You do not need to rely only on an officer’s initial investigation.

You may benefit from an attorney conducting an independent investigation. And if required, using experts to investigate, analyze, and testify to secure all the compensation you deserve.

To learn more about car accident investigations and your leag options, contact us at 1-800-HURT-NOW and arrange a free and confidential case consultation.

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