How Are Fatal Car Accidents Investigated?

PUBLISHED ON: June 15, 2023    LAST MODIFIED ON: August 21, 2023

Fatal Car Accident Investigations in Houston, TX

How Fatal Car Accident Investigations Work

At Nava Law Group, car accidents and personal injury law are among our specialties. We get lots of clients from Houston, Austin, and San Antonio with questions pertaining to motor vehicle collisions and fatal accidents. The first step to gaining compensation is the investigation process. If the accident resulted in death, the investigation is even more important. Learn more about fatal car accident investigations and how they can reinforce your claim.

How Are Fatal Car Accidents Investigated

The Top Causes of Fatal Car Accidents

As a safe driver, cyclist, or pedestrian, it’s difficult to prevent accidents when a motorist is acting negligently. However, knowing the causes of fatal car accidents can help you avoid situations where collisions are common. Accidents often result from the following:

  • Drunk driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Driver fatigue
  • Inclement weather
  • Poor road conditions

Basic Procedures for Investigating Car Accidents

The fatal car accident investigation procedure may vary based on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Even so, most investigations follow the same basic steps. Here’s how law enforcement responds in the event of a car accident:

Emergency Response

Before any investigation can begin, first responders must arrive and take care of any injured people. At the time of the initial response, officers might also secure the area to prevent further harm.

Accident Reconstruction

In some cases, an accident reconstruction is necessary to determine what happened. Law enforcement will examine the accident scene and look for skid marks, debris, and the positions of each vehicle. With this information, experts can figure out why the collision occurred.

Evidence Gathering

Gathering evidence is crucial to any fatal accident investigation. During this stage of the process, law enforcement officers will take witness statements to better understand the events leading up to the crash. They’ll also examine the vehicle for mechanical failures, damage patterns, and data recorders. In fatal accidents, investigators will also need to read over autopsies and medical records.


Documentation is perhaps the most important part of any investigation. Properly recording witness statements, medical records, and all other information is imperative for getting justice for victims. These documents will be instrumental in building a case.

Legal Proceedings and Criminal Charges

Once the fatal accident investigation is over, survivors have the option to begin legal proceedings. In some cases, the at-fault driver may be subject to criminal charges.

How Long Does It Take to Investigate a Fatal Car Accident?

It’s impossible to say how long it takes police to investigate a car accident. Each incident is unique and requires a tailored approach. Some investigations take months to complete, while others take years to make it to trial. An experienced attorney can help you understand the process’s timeline.

A Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help

If you’ve lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, it’s always in your best interest to contact an attorney. At Nava Law Group, we have years of experience with wrongful death cases and can help you build a case that proves negligence. Our team specializes in all types of motor vehicle accidents, including:

Contact the Team at Nava Law Group

Navigating the legal system while you deal with grief is emotionally and physically draining. While nothing but time will ease your stress and sadness, Nava Law Group can take some of the burden off your shoulders. Our legal professionals will guide you through your wrongful death claim and build a strong case for compensation. Contact us today to learn more.

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