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How are fatal car accidents investigated in South Carolina?

Losing a loved one in a fatal crash is devastating. There is always, and understandably so, the need to know how and why such car accidents occur. Unfortunately, investigating fatal collisions, whether in South Carolina or elsewhere, takes time and can seem unbearable to surviving family members. However, even though the investigative process may be lengthy, it is worth it in the end, as rushing though this process may result in inaccurate findings.

Fatal car accidents happen for a number of reasons. Some truly are just that, accidents, while others can clearly be attributed to negligent behaviors. Law enforcement officials in South Carolina have the difficult task of making this determination. This is a job that they take very seriously.

In order to investigate a fatal crash, certain equipment is typically needed and specialists are often called in to assist. Not all police departments, due to expense, have all of the necessary tools to perform a full investigation. In these cases, a Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT), which is run by the South Carolina Highway Patrol, is called.

So, what happens after an accident? An investigative team is called to examine the scene. All details, both big and small, are documented. This may include skid mark length and direction, the location of car parts and the review of other forensic evidence. All of the information gathered allows investigators the ability to reconstruct the crash.

After fatal car accidents, there is a lot on the line for victims' surviving family members and those who are believed responsible for such incidents. Taking time to review every little detail will help authorities determine if a driver's negligence contributed to the wreck, if mechanical failure may have been an issue or if the accident was caused by other reasons. If it is determined that negligence was the underlying cause of an accident, the victim's family elect to pursue civil actions against the party deemed responsible. If proof of negligence can be established successfully, a South Carolina court may award surviving family members financial compensation for any damages sustained.

Source: thestate.com, "Investigations of deadly crashes in SC a painstaking process", Joshua Lloyd, Aug. 15, 2015

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