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Who’s Responsible for a Car Crash Investigation in Ohio?

Female agent filling out insurance claim on digital tablet against background of broken car. car crash investigation

Different parties will conduct car crash investigations in Ohio, including state patrol officers, police departments, private investigators, insurers, and attorneys. If you have suffered injuries and other damages because of another party’s negligence in a car accident, you can recover compensation in a case following a car crash investigation.

To determine whether you have a viable case, call Young, Reverman & Bolotin at 513-400-0000 today to schedule a free initial consultation.

How a Car Crash Investigation Works

In 2022 alone, there were thousands of car accidents in Ohio, resulting in 1,180 fatalities. Many of these more serious accidents will involve an investigation, depending on their complexity and the degree of resulting damages.

Similar to how the process works in other states, an accident investigation will take place after a car crash. The purpose of this investigation is to collect sufficient evidence to determine liability and the total amount of damages resulting from the accident, which can help the police, insurers, and others figure out who’s responsible and how much the case is worth.

The following are the basic steps involved in this process:

Collecting Evidence

During a car accident investigation, police and others will collect a wide range of evidence, including:

  • Photos and video of car crash scenes and injuries
  • The conditions of the drivers, vehicles, and roads at the time of the accident
  • The location of the accident
  • Statements from witnesses

Accident Reconstruction

If an accident involves serious injuries and crimes, the next step involves accident reconstruction.

Based on all the evidence collected, an accident reconstructionist with training in this area will be responsible for reconstructing the events of the accident as accurately as possible. In doing so, he or she may use various tools to help with the reconstruction, including formulas and equations along with innovative software that helps visualize the accident.

The reconstruction will take into account all contributing factors that led to the accident, from human error and mechanical failure to environmental elements.

These are the fundamental elements of car crash investigations in Ohio.

Who Conducts a Car Crash Investigation in Ohio?

Depending on the location and the nature of the accident, different parties will conduct a car crash investigation. These individuals and entities could include:

Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP)

One party that might conduct an investigation is the OSHP if an accident takes place on roadways in their jurisdiction. If an accident occurs on major highways in Ohio, OSHP will begin the investigation process by collecting different types of evidence from the accident scene.

During their investigation, they’ll also use their training to measure the data collected from the site, question drivers and witnesses involved in the accident, and analyze skid marks. The physical evidence collected from the scene will also help OSHP officers perform damage analyses, speed determination, and scale diagramming to help reconstruct the accident.

OSHP officers must have proper training to effectively conduct these investigations.

Local Police Departments

In other locations, a local police department may be behind an investigation. Like the OSHP, local police officers would arrive at the car crash scene to begin the investigation by developing an initial report.

The report will include details such as road and weather conditions, the conditions of all drivers involved, the date and time of the accident, the location, who called the police, and the license plate numbers and models of all vehicles at the scene.

Police officers will also speak with drivers, passengers, witnesses, and others involved to gather official statements. During the questioning process, officers will also take note of the state of the people questioned.

The police department could use diagrams to detail the locations of scrapes or skid marks in the area and use certain methods to conduct various measurements.

All the data collected could then go to an accident reconstructionist for more thorough measurements and analysis.

Private Investigators and Insurance Companies

Many car accidents lead to claims or lawsuits that involve private investigators and insurers.

When filing an insurance claim, insurance companies will assign an adjuster to the case. Adjusters will be responsible for conducting investigations into car accidents, but they may also hire private investigators.

Private investigators may stealthily investigate the parties involved and determine whether they’re attempting to commit insurance fraud or otherwise make fraudulent claims regarding the case. For example, a private investigator may physically follow a victim and look at his or her social media to confirm whether he or she has actually suffered the injuries involved in the claim.

Insurers will work hard to either minimize or deny claims, especially if they risk making large payouts.

Car Accident Attorneys

A car accident lawyer could also conduct a car crash investigation to determine liability and the extent of damages resulting from an accident. Attorneys will work on behalf of their clients to collect evidence and look into the facts of a case to prove that another party was liable.

As the attorney conducts the investigation, he or she can get a better sense of what happened and build a stronger case for the client.

For example, a car accident attorney can take into account the different types of negligence to determine more precisely who is liable for an accident, whether one or more parties are responsible for comparative negligence, gross negligence, negligent entrustment, or other degrees of misconduct.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Ohio

In any car accident case, there are steps that accident victims should take to help simplify the investigation and increase their chances of reaching a successful outcome with a claim or lawsuit.

These steps entail:

Staying Calm and Collected at the Accident Scene

Immediately following an accident, it’s important to remain calm and stay at the accident scene. If anyone has sustained injuries or if there is significant property damage, someone should call the police.

Upon arriving at the scene, police can begin investigating the accident and generate a police report that could help support your case. When speaking with officers, be honest and try to recall as many details as you can, as this could help solidify your version of events in the official report.

Seek Medical Attention

If you suffer any injuries, regardless of how small, you should seek medical attention from professionals as soon as possible. Taking this step will help you get a clear diagnosis early on, get started on treatment, and more ably prove that your injuries resulted from the accident via medical records.

Collect Evidence

You should also know how to document your car accident injuries and other evidence related to the accident to help support your case.

There are plenty of pieces of evidence that can go a long way in helping you develop a clear narrative and support a claim or lawsuit.

For example, you might obtain:

  • Photos or video footage of the accident scene, your injuries, and property damage
  • Medical records and bills for treatment
  • Police reports
  • Proof of lost income

An attorney could help you collect any of this evidence if you’re unable to get it on your own, which can help build a strong case during investigations from insurers and others.

Consult an Attorney

If you have a valid accident claim or lawsuit, you can find out what options are available to you by scheduling a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in Ohio.

Speaking with a lawyer can give you a better idea of what types of legal steps you can take to recover compensation. During your consultation, he or she will also be able to answer questions like, “How does a car accident settlement work?”

If the attorney decides to handle your case and represent you, he or she will begin an investigation to learn all the details of the accident, collect evidence, and start building a case in your favor. In the process, he or she can identify and calculate all damages involved and determine the total settlement value.

When negotiating with insurers, the attorney could continue to make counteroffers following the adjuster’s initial offer, fighting to get the total amount of compensation you need. Lawyers understand the tactics that insurers use to try to deny and reduce settlements, helping them successfully negotiate a fair settlement.

Additionally, if your case doesn’t settle during the claims process and needs to go to trial, a lawyer with trial experience can also assist with this. He or she will guide you through the litigation process, settling the case early on in the lawsuit to prevent the case from going to court.

Ultimately, having a lawyer by your side can help you succeed with a case by conducting a car crash investigation and complete other crucial steps in maximizing your settlement.

Contact us today to speak with one of the attorneys at Young, Reverman & Bolotin in a free consultation.

Jay A. Bolotin is a partner at the injury law firm of Young, Reverman & Bolotin. Serving the people of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, Jay dedicates his career to helping clients in the tri-state area obtain financial compensation after suffering serious injuries. He focuses his practice on cases involving car accidents, trucking accidents, dog bites and animal attacks, and other types of personal injury incidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Registration Status:: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Cincinati Bar Association