Accidents occur thousands of times each day. Most accidents require one or more individuals to investigate its circumstances to see how it happened, who caused it, and how it could have been avoided. Many times the facts discovered in the investigation will be pertinent to a claim by the injured party for damages and relevant to future settlement negotiations or a civil trial to assess fault and damages.
Inspect the scene of the accident as soon as possible. Whether the accident is a car wreck or a slip and fall, it is imperative to do a thorough inspection of the accident scene. Take photographs of the scene from several angles. If there was a car wreck, take photos of skid marks and all vehicles involved. If there was a slip and fall then look for any slippery substances or obstructions on the floor. Note the lighting conditions and whether there were warning signs that may exculpate future liability.
Interview relevant witnesses.
Interview all witnesses. Some witnesses may have actually observed the accident as it occurred. And other witnesses, such as police officers or emergency medical personnel, are witnesses that arrive at the scene after the accident. The early impressions of all witnesses about what they saw or recorded in a report is critical to understanding how the accident occurred. Record addresses and phone numbers of all witnesses for future reference.
Get a statement from the injured party.
Record a statement from the injured party. At the first opportunity, get an in-depth statement from the injured party. Find out exactly how the injured party claims the injury occurred, the specifics of the resulting injury, and the names of all witnesses that the injured party can remember, including contact information. The questions should include information about the medical history of the injured party in the past and the medical history related to the incident at issue.
Prepare a written report and open file.
Prepare a final incident report. A written report and an open file outlining everything that has been discovered about the injury will need to be prepared. The file will include all statements from witnesses and the injured party, and all photographs taken in the investigation. The documents to be included will be any related police or medical reports completed. The investigator should prepare his own summary outlining his findings and his own assessment of how the injury occurred and the extent of the injuries.
* The most important thing in investigating an accident is to get to the scene and question the witnesses as soon as possible. People will forget the facts as time goes on and the accident scene will change likewise as time passes.
David Burlison practiced law for 25 years In Tennessee and Mississippi. He has traveled extensively throughout the world, and once lived and worked in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has published numerous articles with Demand Studios, Ezine Articles, GoTo Articles and Hubpages. His publications have covered subjects dealing with law, travel and various social issues.