On an otherwise calm Tuesday afternoon in Miami, Florida, calmness turned to chaos in an instant in the vicinity of NW 27th Avenue is NW 38 Street as a small black sedan collides with the tire of an 18-wheeler hauling a load of cargo. One passenger sitting in the front seat of the sedan is ejected from the car and tragically dies. The other occupant of the vehicle was transported to the hospital and was expected to survive their injuries. If you’re a driver in the state of Florida, this is just one of many tragic traffic accidents that happen almost every day, especially in the crowded metropolitan area of Miami-Dade. Despite the fact that traffic levels and population density vary from county to county, it’s important to understand in the event that you’re involved in a fatal traffic crash such as this one, you’re going to see the same kinds of investigatory steps taken by law enforcement, and if you’re involved, you should be aware of what typically happens. Not only does having a better idea of how law enforcement operates keep you better equipped to handle one of these tragic scenarios should they happen to you, but also, it ensures that you know when and why you might need to seek legal counsel.

Implied Consent

 If you’re a licensed driver in the State of Florida, you consented to being tested for alcohol or narcotics should you be involved in an accident where there is death or great bodily harm, and you are suspected to driving under the influence. While most actions by law enforcement are largely discretionary, it’s very common that if there is a suspicion that one of the motorists involved in a deadly crash is inebriated or under the influence, there is a zero-tolerance policy that results in automatic testing. Refusal to submit to testing is an offense in of itself which carries a penalty of having a suspended license for six months, not to mention fines and other possible penalties. If you’re a commercial driver, such as the driver involved in the above-mentioned crash, it can be a nightmare. If law enforcement conducts a thorough investigation, it should result in all parties on scene being interviewed if it’s possible to do so. If they cannot interview them on the scene, for example, if one of the drivers is transported to the hospital, interviews are typically conducted when they are conscious and stable enough to provide a statement.

Canvassing and Interviews

 Law enforcement in situations such as this is always trying to determine where the crash happened to verify jurisdiction. In a city as large as Miami, that’s not really much of an issue. However, law enforcement being able to conduct a proper investigation means that the door can either open or shut in regards to wrongful death suits. If it becomes apparent that the commercial vehicle operator was driving in a culpably negligent manner, it changes the entire dynamic of the crash. The same can be said if the driver of the sedan was driving at excessive speeds and operating the vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner. To get a better idea of what happened, law enforcement scours the immediate area of the crash for surveillance cameras, which are more and more common these days. They also seek to interview any witnesses that might’ve seen the accident. Doing this enables law enforcement to conduct a thorough investigation that not only ensures there isn’t a miscarriage of justice, but most importantly for you the possible victim, that you aren’t deprived of rightful compensation should one of the parties in a crash be civilly responsible.   If you feel that an accident investigation may have been improperly conducted, or you discover that an investigation determined the other party wasn’t just criminally liable, but also, likely civilly liable, that’s when it’s time to contact legal counsel to take the necessary action.

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