Personal Injury Investigator | Uncovering the Truth

When someone is injured due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another party, they may have a valid personal injury claim.

Personal Injury Investigator
Personal Injury Investigator | Uncovering the Truth

However, building a strong personal injury case requires gathering concrete evidence and facts. This is where a personal injury investigator can provide invaluable assistance.

What Does a Personal Injury Investigator Do?

A personal injury investigator is a professional who is hired by an attorney to gather information and evidence to support a personal injury claim. Their role is to uncover the truth about what happened to cause the client's injuries and damages.

Some of the key responsibilities of a personal injury investigator include:

  • Interviewing eyewitnesses and obtaining witness statements
  • Tracking down surveillance footage or photographs of the accident scene 
  • Photographing injury sites and damaged property
  • Consulting police reports, medical records, insurance documents
  • Researching the potential liable party's background and assets
  • Reconstructing the sequence of events leading up to the accident
  • Determining causes and factors that may have contributed to the accident
  • Consulting expert witnesses as needed, such as accident reconstruction experts

The evidence and findings compiled by the investigator will help demonstrate liability, causation, and damages relating to the personal injury claim. This can greatly increase the chances of a successful outcome for the plaintiff.

Why Hire a Personal Injury Investigator?

Victims who have suffered catastrophic injuries often face daunting physical, emotional, and financial challenges. They should not have to take on the burden of building a legal claim alone. Personal injury law firms have significant experience handling these cases, as well as the resources to hire seasoned investigators.

An experienced personal injury investigator offers unique skills and abilities that are critical for uncovering evidence in these cases, including:

Thorough Knowledge of Legal Process and Protocol

An investigator understands proper evidence collection methods that will be acceptable to insurance companies and courts. They follow the chain of custody rules and do not engage in unethical practices. This helps build a claim on a solid legal foundation.

Ability to Find Witnesses and Reconstruct Events

Locating eyewitnesses is one of the most important investigative tasks. Investigators use sophisticated databases and skip-tracing strategies to track down potential witnesses. Thorough interviews and statements are taken. The investigator pieces together all witness accounts to accurately reconstruct the accident scenario.

Expertise in Interpreting Documents and Physical Evidence

Investigators know how to dig deep into documentation to discover inconsistencies or evidence useful for the claim. This may involve insurance policies, medical reports, employment records, or maintenance logs. They can also examine physical evidence, such as on-site damage, with an expert eye.

Objectivity and Neutral Point of View

Since the investigator is a third party, they offer an unbiased perspective. Emotional trauma often causes victims and families to have cloudy memories or inaccurate interpretations of events. The detached, neutral viewpoint of an investigator provides clarity.

Connections with Resources and Experts

Qualified investigators develop networks with sources that can provide inside information beneficial to cases. They also have trusted relationships with expert witnesses, such as accident reconstructionists, engineers, physicians, and economists.

Tenacity and Creativity

Dogged determination is needed to gather every possible scrap of evidence through exhaustive investigation. Investigators also think outside the box using ingenious tactics to get the intel needed to prove a case.

When beginning an investigation, the investigator starts by learning everything possible about the client’s background and damages. Key information is gathered through an initial client interview and questionnaire. The investigator digs into the circumstances surrounding the accident, including:

  • Date, time, and location of incident
  • The exact sequence of events leading up to the incident
  • All individuals and entities involved
  • Contributing factors and hazards  
  • Client’s injuries and medical treatment
  • Financial losses suffered by the client  

Armed with this foundation of knowledge about the case, the investigator then sets out to uncover evidence to prove liability and damages.

Finding Eyewitnesses and Surveillance Footage 

The investigator utilizes various methods to locate eyewitnesses to the incident. Direct inquiries may be made with individuals identified by the client as being at the accident scene. Sources such as police reports and media accounts can provide leads. Skip tracing techniques are used to track down witnesses who were unknown to the client. 

Canvassing the accident area is important legwork. By talking to property owners, business personnel, and residents nearby, the investigator can discover new witnesses. Creative thinking helps too - for example, an empty field may not have seemed useful, but checking whether any utility workers were present that day could turn up a new witness. 

Obtaining official statements from every eyewitness is critical, as memories fade quickly. The investigator also asks witnesses to circle their position and detail movements on a diagram of the accident area. 

Photos, surveillance video, traffic cameras, and cell phone footage may have captured key images of the incident as it happened. The investigator relentlessly pursues all possible sources to uncover relevant footage. 

Visiting the Accident Scene

Most accident sites change rapidly as debris is removed and damage is repaired. The investigator makes it a priority to conduct an on-site investigation immediately. 

Initial photographs document the area in the condition closest to the event. The investigator looks for skid marks, discolourations, property damage, or any transient evidence. Measurements are taken to determine the positions of vehicles and persons before, during, and after the incident. 

Any hazardous conditions that may have contributed to the incident are also photographed and documented. This may include obscured signage, deficient lighting, construction hazards, defective surfaces, lack of safety barriers, etc.

Later on, the investigator may even choose to reconstruct the accident scenario using exemplary vehicles and participants. Sophisticated instruments can capture critical data, such as vehicle speeds and force of impact.  

Collecting Documents and Background Information

The investigator gathers documentation from both public and private sources that may shed light on factors involved in the incident. 

Police accident reports, ambulance records, hospital charts, and EMT notes are requested. If any government agencies responded, such as fire departments or Hazmat teams, their reports provide insights. The investigator obtains repair, maintenance and inspection logs for any machinery, property or vehicles involved. 

In premises liability cases, the investigator digs into building plans, safety records, and complaint logs of a business where an injury occurred. For vehicle accidents, background documents may include information on licensing, registration, insurance, previous collisions, or recalls.

The liable party’s background is also explored. This may reveal previous negligence, citations, criminal conduct, or other useful information. If a medical professional is being sued, verifying credentials and past performance history is undertaken.

Consulting Experts

Certain evidence requires analysis by specialists. For example, in a truck accident case, an investigator retained data from the truck’s Engine Control Module. This was decoded by a trucking expert to prove excessive speed at the time of the crash.

Other technical experts that may be engaged include accident reconstructionists, bioengineers, economists, vocational analysts, life care planners, physicians, and psychologists. The investigator maintains strong contacts in multiple fields.

Thorough investigative efforts by a personal injury investigator produce the evidence and narrative needed to give a plaintiff’s attorney a maximum advantage in obtaining a positive legal outcome. Although the process involves persistence and diligence, the reward is uncovering the truth and obtaining justice for an injured party.

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