When accidents require an investigation

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

If the cause of a motor vehicle accident is unclear, California state or local police accident investigation teams may conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the accident, including agencies such as the California Highway Patrol Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Teams. Such investigations can be common in cases involving catastrophic injury or death, but less common in minor accidents unless an insurance company requires information to determine who was at fault and thus who is liable for monetary damages.

Insurance investigators only determine who is at fault in an accident, but it is up to either law enforcement or the victim in an accident to press charges. Law enforcement teams can determine if any charges may be involved for wrongful death or injury. One such instance of a case requiring investigation is a Yucca Valley case reported in the Hi-Desert Star. In this case, a three vehicle collision led to the deaths of two passengers and injury of two more.

In order to determine the events of the accident, the local sheriff’s department conducted an investigation. The investigation concluded that errors during a turn caused two vehicles to collide catastrophically while striking a glancing blow to a third. The two primary vehicles involved in the crash, a Lincoln and a Toyota, both suffered significant damage.

The occupants of the Toyota died after the Lincoln pulled into the center turn lane and collided with the Toyota. Preliminary investigations may determine that the driver of the Lincoln is accountable for the deaths of the Toyota’s occupants. Criminal charges may depend on the sheriff’s office and the officers on the scene.

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