The last thing anyone wants to think about is receiving the news that a family member, friend or loved one was killed in a car crash. But car and truck crash deaths are unfortunately common. According to MODOT, between 2016 and 2018, 2,800 people died in crashes on Missouri roadways. Motor vehicle deaths happen, and they are devastating.
If you or someone you know finds themselves in this worst-case scenario, you need to consult experts. And you need to do it quickly. Time is of the essence in evidence and fact gathering that will enable you to hold people accountable. Consult with professionals who have handled these situations before and consider these steps you should take if the worst were to happen:
Get Someone To The Scene Of The Crash As Soon As Possible
Evidence from car, truck and other crashes disappears quickly. Police officers, tow truck drivers, Highway Department employees don’t always know what is and what isn’t important at a crash scene. We know what’s important and can help get people to the scene quickly.
Police officers and highway patrol will also take photos as part of the accident report, but with evidence, you can never have too many photos. The photos taken by others don’t always show what’s important. If you’re at the scene, take photos, but also call our office! We can help get high quality photos of things like tire skid marks, damage to the surrounding property and land, and of course, the vehicles involved.
Find out where the vehicles are being taken—The “Black Box”
Today’s cars and trucks hold a wealth of information from a crash in their “black box.” But all too often, that black box information disappears. Finding where every vehicle in the crash is taken enables us to get an engineer to the scene to download and preserve the information from each car. This information is invaluable, as it often contains vehicle speed, brake pedal application information, airbag deployment information and other data that can make or break a case. We can get experts to the vehicle before it disappears.
Talk to the Witnesses
Police and Highway Patrol officers will talk to witnesses, but often at a surface level. We need details to prove your case. Recorded statements are always best. Make sure to get all contact information for each witness, because we usually talk to our witnesses multiple times during a case. We need their story.
DON’T talk to Insurance Companies
While it is fine to tell your or your family’s insurance carrier that there was a crash, DO NOT give them any kind of a statement.
Get A Copy Of The Accident Report
Before you leave the scene of the accident, make sure to get the contact information for the officers who first reported to the scene. They should give you a card or a piece of paper detailing where you can obtain the full accident report.
Obtain Medical Records and a Death Certificate
If the death is reported at the scene of the accident, a coroner may be called to the scene. More often, an injured person is transferred by ambulance. Death certificates and coroner’s investigations can show how the accident or injuries in the crash caused the death of your loved one.
Contact A Wrongful Death Attorney—Let us take the burden off of your family
Car, truck and work crashes that cause a death are obviously serious situations. They are also stressful and emotional for everyone. In order to alleviate the burden and protect your family’s legal rights, consider talking to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Our wrongful death and insurance attorneys have experience, investigating, coordinating and filing these types of claims in the state of Missouri and Illinois and can guide you through the process.
The Attorneys at Marler Law Partners are experienced in handling all aspect of Wrongful Death Cases and Claims nationwide, but handle Missouri and Illinois cases in St. Louis, Southern Illinois and Eastern and Southeast Missouri areas. Contact our office today for a free consultation.