If you suffer a personal injury in an accident (a traffic collision, for example), you will not qualify for compensation unless you can prove that the accident was someone else’s fault. Proving fault is not always easy, however. Accident reconstruction is the process of determining how an accident occurred so that you can prove liability. Auto accident reconstruction is the most common form of accident reconstruction.
What Is Car Accident Reconstruction?
A useful car accident reconstruction definition might be “The use of evidence and scientific principles to determine why and how a car accident happened”.
Auto accident, motorcycle accident, and commercial vehicle accident reconstruction and investigation can be a complex process. This process requires the participation of an accident reconstruction expert with expertise in:
- Engineering, and
The testimony of a car accident reconstruction expert can be decisive in a personal injury lawsuit.
How Is Car Accident Reconstruction Performed?
The first stage of an accident investigation and reconstruction is to gather together the pieces of the puzzle. The expert must conduct an accident scene reconstruction by collecting physical and documentary evidence such as:
- Photos of the scene of the accident;
- Photos of the vehicles involved;
- Eyewitness statements;
- The police report;
- Medical records;
- CCTV footage of the accident, if available;
- Cell phone records;
- A physical inspection of the vehicle and its damage;
- Information from a data recorder — the vehicles’ onboard computers and, if a truck was involved, the truck’s event data recorder; and
- GPS data about the location of the accident.
Next, the expert must work backward from the evidence back to the accident that produced it. The expert will apply the laws of physics to the evidence to generate mathematical models of various accident scenarios. They will also issue a written report and perhaps 3D models of the accident.
How Can an Accident Reconstruction Help My Claim?
Accident reconstructions are persuasive because they are presented by an expert. A 3D traffic accident reconstruction is visual, which gives it a tangible appeal that transcends the abstractions of a mere verbal description. Accident reconstruction can uncover the following information:
- The force of the impact, which can reveal the vehicle’s speed;
- The angle of the impact;
- The actions or omissions of the drivers leading up to the accident (especially in a truck accident);
- The visibility at the scene of the accident;
- The extent to which a pedestrian might have contributed to the accident;
- Whether either of the drivers was using their cell phone at the time of the accident;
- Whether a vehicle defect contributed to the accident; and
- Whether conflicting eyewitness accounts of the accident can be explained by their respective lines of sight to the accident.
A written report by an accident reconstruction effort can serve as powerful evidence in settlement negotiations. If you go to trial, you can use your accident reconstruction expert as an expert witness to testify in front of a jury.
When Do You Need Motor Vehicle Accident Reconstruction?
Of course, you don’t need to bother with a full-blown automobile accident reconstruction to resolve a minor fender-bender. The general rule is that the larger the amount of your claim, the more sense it makes to invest in an auto accident analysis and reconstruction. Below are a few more red flags that might indicate that you need the services of an accident: reconstruction expert:
- There are no eyewitnesses to the accident;
- The one witness who could contradict the defendant’s testimony died in the accident;
- You are having trouble gathering evidence of the accident;
- You’re getting contradictory eyewitness accounts;
- The defendant hired an accident reconstruction expert; or
- One of the vehicles suffered a defect that may have contributed to the accident.
Many other scenarios should persuade you to seek an accident reconstruction expert.
We Offer Our Clients Decades of Experience
As Northwest Indiana’s premier personal injury law firm, we offer our clients the following advantages:
- Decades of successful trial experience.
- Over 80 years of combined professional experience.
- Thousands of satisfied clients.
- Opposing parties know us and fear us – which tends to lead to settlements rather than full-blown trials.
- Our lawyers have practiced locally for decades. We know the judges, the court staff, and the opposing attorneys. Most importantly, we understand how the Northwest Indiana civil compensation system works in practice.
Contact Stracci Law Group today by calling (219) 525-1000 or by contacting us online. We serve clients in Crown Point, Gary, Hammond, Portage, Merrillville, Valparaiso, and elsewhere in Northwest Indiana.