Our firm decided over 25 years ago to conduct accident investigations in-house. We then started to employ qualified investigators and we now have 7 full time investigators with the firm. A properly conducted accident investigation provides important, detailed information about the scene and other important aspects relating to the accident. This investigation allows our lawyers to form their own views of what might have caused the accident or come up with another explanation of how the accident happened.
The investigators, on the majority of the cases, go into action at the onset to gather information about what happened by obtaining copies of accident reports, incident offense reports, driver and criminal history reports and other reports as they relate to the particular case. Usually, the investigator will meet with the lawyer at this point as well, to discuss areas of concern and where investigative efforts need to be focused. The investigators usually communicate with the lawyer’s legal or assistant secretary to obtain Letters of Preservation to be sent to insurance companies, potential defendants, and other parties associated with the storage of evidence.
The investigators visit the accident or incident location to photograph the scene and surroundings to gather information for the attorney who is assigned the case. The investigator will then travel to other areas to gather information. This may include insurance storage lots and wrecker lots to photograph and inspect all vehicles involved; or travel to a business to inspect the scene/equipment where the accident occurred. In addition, interviews are conducted on all parties involved and any witnesses to the accident/incident to gather as much information as possible to assist the attorneys in the decision to move forward or close a case.
Oftentimes, the utilization of equipment to download information from vehicles provides valuable information to the lawyer assigned to the case – things like vehicle speed, seatbelt usage, braking, etc. The investigators provide inspection reports and memorandums to the attorneys describing the inspections and any findings of significance. An investigator may also have to video the scene or a specific piece of equipment for informational purposes for the attorney or for use in trial. During the inspection process, photographs are made and uploaded into our database to be used by the attorney assigned to the case.
The lawyers use all this information to decide whether or not there is a case, and they usually call for an expert/engineer in the specific field of interest based on the case. Evidence is usually collected, documented and stored until it can be inspected by an expert in the particular field. The evidence is then transported to the expert utilizing a chain-of-custody form, and photographs are normally taken to document the chain of custody.
In addition to the above, investigators assist other employees documenting evidence utilizing video and photographs, which may be used in case preparation and to document chain of custody. We learned very early in our firm’s existence that having in-house investigators is a definite advantage for the firm and the clients we represent. This section of the firm employs six full-time investigators. Each of our investigators was professionally trained as a law enforcement officer before coming with the firm. I will give a brief look at the investigators.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.