How does toxicology analysis work after a car accident?

While considerably less common than other types of motor vehicle accidents, fatal accidents happen at an alarming rate in the U.S. Indeed, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were more than 35,000 fatal crashes in 2020 alone.

When a driver dies in a car accident, it can be difficult to determine the cause of the crash. If investigators have reason to expect a driver might have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may perform a toxicology analysis.

What is toxicology?

Toxicology is a scientific discipline that tries to understand how chemical substances affect living beings. When it comes to car accidents, toxicologists want to know whether alcohol, prescription medications or even illegal drugs might have impaired drivers.

How do toxicologists get a sample?

If a driver dies in a car accident, investigators can request a sample for toxicology analysis. Useful samples can come from the driver’s urine, blood, stomach, liver or eyes.

How do toxicologists test samples?

Testing samples is a complex process that requires special equipment and trained analysts. Toxicology testing and analysis can take weeks to complete. Still, the technology is both reliable and accurate, often giving accident investigators significantly more details about what might have caused a crash.

As everyone knows, intoxicated drivers are a danger to themselves and everyone else on the road. Toxicology reports can help to hold them accountable. Moreover, if you have lost a loved one in a car accident, toxicology analysis also might help you pursue substantial financial compensation.