Losing a loved one suddenly in a car crash is undoubtedly devastating. It can be particularly painful when it is unclear who is to blame.

Assigning liability after an accident is critical for several reasons, not the least of which is helping survivors understand why their loved one was killed. However, because those involved in a crash may not be able or willing to report what happened, it is often necessary to look for answers elsewhere.

The accident scene

The scene of an accident can reveal critical details about a crash that can help people understand the cause. Everything from weather and road conditions to lighting and brake marks can be valuable pieces of information.

This type of physical data can be recorded in photographs and police reports and used to reconstruct the accident, which can help explain what happened and who is to blame.

Witnesses

Witnesses can be crucial in understanding what happened before, during and after a crash. Parties on the scene, including passengers in the vehicle, other motorists and people watching from outside should be questioned about what they remember.

Other parties can provide insights, as well. For instance, a bartender serving one of the drivers involved may know that the driver had been drinking before the accident. Someone receiving a call or text from one of the drivers may have information. Friends or employers may have knowledge regarding a person’s emotional state before he or she got behind the wheel.

Electronic data

Technology is all around us. And after an accident, electronic data can provide objective, reliable data into the reasons behind the crash.

Parties can collect information, including cellphone records, video surveillance footage, dashcam recordings, and so-called black boxes, which are event data recorders installed in many vehicles. The data pulled from these sources can provide evidence of distraction, impairment or fatigue that may have otherwise been unknown.

After fatal crashes, it can feel like getting answers is impossible. However, there are ways to determine what happened and who is liable for the accident. Not only can this information help provide some sense of closure, but it can also provide evidence to support a wrongful death claim that parties may file.