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Before launching an injury claim you must know case facts

There are times when the bare elements of a case make it abundantly clear that a viable personal injury or wrongful death claim exists. As an example, consider the horrible Amtrak derailment that happened in May up in the northeast part of the country.

Right from the outset, news reports indicated that the train had derailed because it took a curve at more than twice the recommended speed. That has since been confirmed. Eight people died and more than 200 people were injured. Not surprisingly, lawsuits seeking compensation came in quick order, and Amtrak recently announced that it would not contest them.

Not all cases are as clear-cut, which is why consulting with an attorney after an accident is always an important step for victims to take. Far too often, the elements of the initial investigation that get reported turn out to be inaccurate. And, of course, the success of any legal case rests on the merits of the evidence that can be presented.

This comes to mind in light of one particular fatal car accident. It happened one day earlier this month in north Bexar County. An off-duty San Antonio police officer died in the accident and his two children were injured when the SUV they were riding in collided head-on with a pickup truck. The truck's driver also was injured.

Authorities were quoted in one initial report as saying that the truck's driver said he was alone. But witnesses reportedly saw several truck passengers flee the scene after the crash. A helicopter search for any suspicious activity followed and police said they contacted the construction company that owned the truck to find out how many people might have been in it.

Based on all that, readers might be inclined to think that there must have been something untoward going on with that truck and that the driver must have been somehow responsible. But a later update on the story revealed that police obtained information indicating that the officer who died veered into the oncoming traffic for some reason, apparently causing the crash.

The full story remains unclear in this case. Until the details can be filled in, the issue of whether seeking compensation through a personal injury claim is possible may remain unresolved as well.

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