I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer and over the years many clients have come to me with serious injuries and no witnesses to the collision they were involved in. Although these cases are difficult because the injured party must prove negligent, an immediate and thorough investigation can sometimes save the day. The first thing the attorney should do is have an investigator or paralegal go to the scene and take photographs from every angle. They should go at the same time of day or night as the collision happened. People are creatures of habit and sometimes they leave school, work or elsewhere at the same time every day. Putting posters up at the scene or putting ads in Craigslist also may be productive.
Secondly, look for traffic cameras if the accident happpened near an intersection. If there is a camera there, it may well have caught the collision on film. You can ask the local police department or other agency maintaining the camera for the film at the caught the collision on film. You can ask the local police department or other agency maintaining the camera for the film at the time of the crash. A few may be cooperative, but most often the attorney needs to immediately send a letter demanding that They preserve evidence on the date and time of the collision. Them the attorney will need to file suit and subpoena the video. The attorney must act fast because often the film is destroyed after very short periods of time.
In addition to traffic cameras, survey local businesses around the crash scene and ask employees if they happen to have seen the crash. Additionally, more and more private businesses have their own security cameras that may have captured critical evidence of the crash. Finally, do a public records request for any record of 911 calls, 911 call logs and CAD logs. This request can be to either a local police department or the California Highway Patrol. Most of the time, the actual 911 calls may have been deleted, but you will still be able to see the telephone numbers the 911 calls came in from. Immediately have the investigator call back those numbers. It’s amazing that many people will call 911, but not stick around for the police to come. On many occasions, we have been successful in tracking such witnesses down, and often, they are have helped us prove liability when there were apparently no witnesses to the collision.
If you are in a serious accident in Sacramento or surrounding areas, please give me a call.
I’ve been practicing accident law in California since 1982 and have the most authoritative motor vehicle web site in California.
Again, I’m Ed Smith. Call me anytime at 916-921-6400 in Sacramento or 800-404-5400 Elsewhere.