According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, there are roughly 6 million car accidents every year, or one every sixty seconds. In the aftermath of an accident, it is common to deal with witnesses, police, medical professionals, and car and truck accident attorneys. But there is another category of individuals that injured parties will want to consult: accident reconstruction experts. While in many ways it might seem simple to describe a car accident (“this car hit mine while…”), determining negligence or fault can be difficult.
And with Alabama being an at-fault state, where absolute blame must be assigned to a driver for damages to be awarded, it is essential to have an accident reconstruction expert involved in the early stages of your car accident investigation.
The Accident Reconstruction Profession
As a branch of causation forensics, they determine how and why an accident happened. They are involved in any number of vehicular accidents, including those that involve automobiles, motorcycles, 18-wheelers, buses, as well as pedestrian collisions. Their process is reverse engineering the event, working with mathematics, physics, and engineering to perform their analysis, and with these principles they can calculate things like velocity, angle of collision, driver visibility, and any other causal factors that may have contributed to the accident.
In an ideal circumstance, an accident reconstruction expert will be involved as early as possible in an accident. Whether it is an accident involving a drunk driver, large truck accident, or a small car collision, they can try to reconstruct what happened. When they arrive, they can analyze evidence like tire marks, impact marks, the surface of the road, debris, and airbag control modules. If it so happens that they cannot attend to the accident in the immediate aftermath, then other forms of evidence, like video and photographs can suffice. In any case, it is essential to retain all evidence for the benefit of the experts, and for use in court if things go that far.
Benefits to Having an Accident Reconstruction Expert Involved in Your Case
Though police and other first responders can collect evidence and offer testimony, accident reconstruction experts are able to formulate and develop a fuller picture of the events leading up to the accident. While a layperson who witnessed the accident can offer a best guess on factors like speed or trajectory, accident reconstruction experts can provide a more exact metric.
While first-person testimony has its use, it can also be unreliable. Memories fade with time, and individual witnesses can be as traumatized by the event as those directly involved, which can lead to them reconstructing or exaggerating events. An accident reconstruction expert, using hard evidence, can bypass these cognitive biases and shortcomings.
Having an Accident Reconstruction Expert at Your Trial
They are ideal witnesses since they come in with an objective mindset, and without the fallibility of other witnesses, or yourself. As outlined above, these experts gather hard evidence to provide a clearer picture of the accident. Once this evidence is gathered, they can provide objective testimony at your trial. With that evidence, they will provide a “theory” of the accident, one that can be tested repeatedly for a reliable conclusion.
These conclusions should be presented in such a way that a reasonable person would agree with the theory. Using technological materials in the courtroom, they can provide a three-dimensional presentation of the accident from the initial stages to the moment of impact, and to the aftermath.
While they are not present or necessary in all car accident cases, accident reconstruction experts provide a level of expertise that could truly make or break your lawsuit.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!