Police called to the scene of a car crash are immediately swamped with numerous decisions to make. Accident scenes are emotionally charged and can be chaotic. Police must deal with people at their most vulnerable. Minutes pass like hours in the immediate aftermath of a crash, especially a violent crash in which people are severely and perhaps critically injured. Police must quickly assess and triage the injured, perform life-saving measures, and provide first aid to those not critically injured. The officer must decide whether the ambulance must respond.
Once the dust settles, the officer will begin an investigation as to how the accident occurred. The officer will interview the drivers if they are able, and any witnesses to the accident. Witnesses may include passengers riding in the cars involved in the crash, pedestrians, and other motorists. Frequently, the officer’s investigation will be complete after reviewing the crash scene and interviewing witnesses. The officer will then write a police report detailing the crash and listing any criminal or civil charges against a driver. If police suspect one of the drivers committed a serious crime causing the crash, then officers might call in a special unit, sometimes called an accident reconstruction unit, to determine how the crash occurred. An accident reconstructionist will respond if the crash results in a fatality and will also respond in other circumstances. An accident reconstructionist is a highly trained law enforcement officer who can use the physical evidence from the crash and make several determinations about what happened. The crash reconstructionist can determine the speed of the vehicles, the length of time the car was braking before the crash, and use the physical characteristics of the crash to determine what was going on inside the car seconds before the crash.
Technological advancements in motor vehicles also assist investigators. A vehicle’s data recorder aids an accident reconstructionist by storing pre and post-crash data. The data recorder is known as the “black box.” A car’s black box works like an airliner’s black box. A vehicle’s black box records pre and post-crash speed, the amount of braking, the amount of steering, and as well as other factors. Police must get a search warrant authorizing them to take the data recorder if the driver refuses to consent to police examining the item.
One thing police will want to know whether the driver or drivers were distracted at the time of the crash. The most obvious distraction is a cell phone. Most states have launched law enforcement campaigns to combat distracted driving. Many states now have “hands-free” laws, including Mississippi. Crash investigators will determine whether a driver was texting or using their cell phone immediately before the crash.
Where does the investigation lead? The police may charge a driver with a crime or a motor vehicle infraction if the investigation determines that a driver committed such an act. A person injured in the crash has a vested interest in seeing the police investigation through to the end. Under Mississippi law, if a person injures another while breaking the law, the person who broke the law is “per se negligent.” The injured party might recover money damages if they were supposed to be protected by the law the other person broke that caused the crash. For instance, if a person driving under the influence of drugs or liquor crashes into another after swerving into the opposite lane and injures a person, the injured party does not have to prove the other was at fault. The injured party is certainly one whom the law was supposed to protect from harm.
Giddens Law Firm, P.A.: Protecting The Rights Of The Injured
The Mississippi car accident attorneys at Giddens Law Firm, P.A. devote their practice to fighting for victims injured by another. Their experience and success are second to none. Call Giddens Law Firm, P.A. today at 601-355-2022 to schedule an appointment to learn the difference experience can make for you.