Articles Posted in Accident investigation

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courtesy of dfw.cbslocal.com

After a car crash, a police officer comes to the scene, interviews the drivers, and writes a detailed Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3). Its importance cannot be overstated.

Why? It provides an unbiased account of the crash and is written by a trained expert. The insurance company and/or jury will use it to help decide what happened, who is at fault, and how much money to pay you.

The officer records the information about all of the people who were in the vehicles, such as seating position and severity of injuries. The officer also notes whether the drivers were impaired by drugs or alcohol and sometimes even the blood alcohol level — one of the most powerful ways to enlarge your recovery.

I have been reading these accident reports almost daily for almost 40 years and know what to look for. It is essential to get and scrutinize the report as soon as possible.

The report is often useful to you. But it can be inaccurate or just plain wrong and be kept out of evidence as hearsay. How this report is handled can make or break your case whether you are trying to obtain a high settlement or jury verdict – or any money at all.

I go over these reports with a highlighter. The items in orange to the right are some of the things I look for.

Identification and Location 

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The top section on page one gives basic information about the crash including the date, time and location.

If it happened at night, an injury lawyer immediately investigates if alcohol, drugs, drowsiness, or recklessness are involved.

Which road the wreck was on, traffic lights, street signs, stop signs, video cameras, speed limits, and other considerations are vital pieces of information.

For example, school zone, construction zone, and high speed interstate cases are treated much differently than low speed residential street, four way stop, or parking lot accidents.

Pinpointing the exact place and time of the accident is essential in reconstructing and locating evidence at the crash scene.

Lighting, weather, obstructions to vision, rush hour traffic, holidays, and other considerations must be factored into the evaluation.

Vehicle, Driver and Persons

There are two sections on the remainder of page one that ask for information about two drivers involved in the crash. The officer records the name, address, age, sex, race, driver’s license status, state, and type, level of injury, seating position and severity of injuries of the drivers. The officer also notes whether they were impaired by drugs or alcohol and sometimes even the blood alcohol level — one of the most powerful ways to get a large recovery of money in a DWI case.

All passengers are listed with some of this same information.

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Facebook Status Used by Dallas Prosecutor To Do What?for-blog

OMG, we are all so addicted to our Facebook and Twitter feeds, right?

But today’s article about an Assistant District Attorney so drunk early Saturday morning that she crashed into a tree near her home in East Dallas was especially shocking. Not only because the lawyer paid to prosecute the masses driving while intoxicated was herself guilty of DWI. She then had the nerve to ask the arresting officer to let her off because they were Facebook friends!

Social media is so pervasive that it impacts all areas of the law including the one I specialize in, car wrecks.

Can someone’s use of Facebook hurt their claim for reimbursement of their personal injury damages?

Yes, more than you might imagine.
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Insurance companies are businesses, not charities. Their only purpose is to make a profit, which they do by paying less money to automobile accident victims than the premiums they charge to the drivers who caused them. It’s a racquet.

And sometimes their adjusters get overly aggressive, even ruthless. That’s why you need someone on your side protecting you.

Here are some of the ways I see insurance companies trying to cheat my clients:

Demanding recorded statement immediately after the crash

You were just in a car crash. You might have just been released from the ER and are feeling a lot of pain. You are taking medications that can affect your memory, mood, and sleep. You might not be able to work and are naturally worried about your job, income, medical bills, and your wrecked car.  So this is the worst time you should talk to the at-fault driver’s “friendly” insurance adjuster to answer “a few questions.” He or she knows this and often wants to take advantage of your vulnerability.

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It’s Time We Wake Up to the Risks

You wouldn’t drive after drinking too much, but would you drive after sleeping too little?

For far too many responsible people, the answer is a surprising “yes.”

Getting enough sleep can be a serious challenge. In our fast paced world, many people are perpetually sleep-deprived and yet still have to get to work, pick up their children from school and handle daily tasks.

Sleep is often the first to go when trying to meet life’s demands.

In fact, a National Sleep Foundation survey found that almost one-third of people  are perpetually tired. Only about 30 percent regularly slept more than seven hours a night.

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Interstate Shut Down For Analysis

Police closed I-30 in Rowlett east of Dallas yesterday to reconstruct a fatal auto accident that happened early on New Year’s Day. Commuters were presumably cursing the delay as they drove into work. But it was necessary to determine who caused the crash. Attorneys and investigators were there.

The Importance of Evidence Preservation

The more time that goes by, the greater the chances that critical evidence will be destroyed or altered. Road crews clear the accident debris and rain washes away skid marks. Attorneys for large corporations are called by insurance companies to go to the scene after a crash if a commercial vehicle is involved. Video footage is permanently erased. And witnesses forget details — if they can later even be located. To preserve crucial evidence, a good injury attorney starts investigating the accident as soon as he is retained

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