How Do Police Officers Investigate Car Accidents In Florida?

In Florida, right after a car accident, police and rescue workers are usually called to the scene. The call is more urgent if someone is left injured. An in-depth investigation of the car accident scene is carried out by Florida police. They try their best to determine who is at fault. They detect every illegal activity related to the crash. Overall, they investigate the scene thoroughly.

Usually, police tend to secure the scene with flares. This measure is taken so that other motorists see it in time to avoid crashing into the crashed or semi-crashed vehicles. In case someone is hurt in any way, paramedics or other rescue teams are called by the police. At the time of checking on everyone involved in the crash, police evaluate them for drug or alcohol impairment.

It is then that the police focus on the recording information about the crash site. They usually take measurements, make diagrams, or take photos or video. They take note of common evidence pieces, such as tire marks, broken glass, or vehicle parts, and the patterns of damage on the vehicles themselves. Usually, the police talks to witnesses to get their contact information. They try to find out what the witnesses saw or heard. These are valuable pieces of info that can help police reconstruct an accident scene. This largely helps them to determine the person who is at fault.

It is more than vital to determine what occurred during an auto accident. It is important for insurance companies as well as the drivers involved. There are certain car accidents that lead to exposure to criminal liability. Some car crashes are easier to be figured out and some are not. There are certain drivers who tend to lie about what happened to protect themselves from liability. So, it is important for police and investigators to figure out what happened themselves. They mainly need to work backward and reconstruct the accident. The gathered evidence comes handy here!

Who carries out the duty of investigation?

Most of the auto accidents are investigated by two groups of people. These are Florida police officers and independent accident investigators of Florida.

When police become involved in accident cases, they mainly try to figure out whether any criminal actions occurred during the accident. This type of investigation is common when the police suspect that drug or alcohol use was a factor in the accident. When it comes to situations involving commercial drivers, such cases are usually investigated by independent investigators. The investigators are either hired either by the drivers’ insurance companies or the drivers themselves.

Independent investigators are not looking for evidence of criminal activity. They mainly tend to analyze the causes of accidents. This is to help insurance companies to determine liability and financial responsibly. Independent accident investigators can be off-duty police officers, retired police officers, automotive technologists, or professional accident investigators.

How do they gather evidence?

Most of the accident investigators want to reconstruct the accident. However, for this, they need solid evidence. This evidence mainly arises from inspections of the site of the accident and inspections of the vehicles involved.

How does the inspection of the Accident Site take place?

At the time of arriving at the scene of the accident, the investigator tries to gather a good deal of information about the accident and what occurred. This info includes the following:

  • The exact location of the accident
  • The time the accident too place
  • Who notified the police of the accident and how
  • Weather conditions and visibility
  • General info pertaining to the seriousness of the accident

Once the basic level of info is collected, the investigator usually tends to assess the accident site. They desperately look for a point of impact, final resting positions, skid marks, scrub marks, and gouge marks. For documenting these findings, the investigator uses either a sketch or photographs and often both. In case they go for a sketch, they note all details at the scene and measurements between each object. This includes the final resting positions of the vehicles and any debris that may have been left due to the accident. On the other hand, if the investigator chooses to use photographs, they might take three types of photographs.

  1. Establishing photographs: This type of photographs shows the entire scene, the approaches to the scene, and a fixed object in the background to establish both location and scale.
  2. 360-degree photographs: These photographs display all four sides of the accident scene looking north, south, east, and west.
  3. Damage photographs: This type of photographs is mainly close-ups of the damage to the vehicles themselves. These also provide close-ups of any items that were struck by the vehicles involved.

How does the inspection of the Vehicles take place?

Once the accident scene is investigated, the investigators shift their focus on to the vehicles involved. Inspecting the concerned vehicles reveals unsafe vehicle conditions that could have been responsible for the accident. This investigation also shows the damage to the vehicles provides supporting information for witness statements and the investigator’s own observations. The extent of vehicular damage can show the following:

  • How fast the vehicles were going
  • How hard the drivers braked
  • The precise point of impact of the vehicles

This info is more than crucial.

How do police officers help in accident reconstruction?

Accident reconstruction can be defined as the process of using physics and mathematics to determine the speeds of the vehicles and their relative positions at all times. The major issues that are looked into are the pre-and post-impact direction of travel, the length of pre-impact skid marks, the post-impact distances moved, friction levels for the various surfaces the vehicles traveled on, a point of impact, impact angles, and the weights of the vehicles. As per the car accident, the calculations that an accident investigator uses varies.

Basically, when a Florida police officer arrives at a crash scene, their focus is mainly on safety. They ensure that each individual involved moves to a safe area to stay out of traffic’s way.