When you pursue a legal claim after suffering injuries or property damage in a car accident, you will need various types of evidence to prove the other driver’s or party’s fault for the crash. However, evidence and testimony may lead to conflicting accounts about what happened in the accident.
Car accident reconstruction experts can sift through the details of an accident, using scientific methods to piece together the events in a crash and identify who or what may have caused the crash. When you consult with an attorney about a potential personal injury claim, they may retain the services of a car accident reconstruction expert, which can significantly strengthen your legal claim. This expert can provide a persuasive scientific opinion about the cause(s) of the car accident.
What Is Accident Reconstruction?
Accident reconstruction is a type of forensic science focused on determining what happened in an accident, identifying why the accident occurred, or ascertaining who caused it. An accident reconstructionist will use evidence from the scene and crash investigation and employ various scientific disciplines, such as mechanical engineering or physics, to reconstruct the events in an accident.
Qualified accident reconstructionists will have certifications from various organizations accredited according to the international standards published by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction. A car accident reconstruction expert may publish their findings in a written report, or they may create drawn diagrams, physical models, or 3D animated recreations of the accident. Accident reconstruction reports, models, and expert testimony are crucial pieces of evidence in car accident claims.
Types of Vehicle Collisions a Crash Reconstructionist Can Help With
A crash reconstruction expert can provide persuasive opinion reports and testimony in various kinds of motor vehicle accidents, including:
- Bicycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Car accidents
- Head-on accidents
- Left-turn accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Multi-vehicle/pile-up accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Rear-end accidents
- Red light accidents
- Scooter accidents
- Single-vehicle crashes
- Speeding accidents
- Train accidents
- Truck accidents
How Does Car Accident Reconstruction Work?
Car accident reconstruction has two main phases: investigation and analysis. During the investigation, an accident reconstructionist will try to gather all available evidence from a motor vehicle accident by:
- Visiting the accident scene as soon as possible after a crash to document details of the scene, including physical evidence like crash debris on the road, skid marks, the location of traffic signs/signals, road lines, and typical traffic patterns at the time of the crash
- Inspecting the vehicles involved in the collision, taking photos of accident damage, and examining a vehicle’s components for signs of mechanical failure caused by design/manufacturing defects or inadequate maintenance
- Interviewing eyewitnesses and reviewing all statements and reports from the accident, including a police traffic collision report
- Reviewing weather records to determine weather/lighting conditions when the accident occurred
- Checking National Highway Traffic Safety Administration databases to see if any of the vehicles involved in the crash had open safety recalls
- Reviewing maintenance records for the vehicles in the traffic accident
Once a collision reconstruction expert has gathered all the evidence from the collision, they will analyze the data to create a moment-by-moment replay of the crash to identify who or what may have caused it. Collision analysis experts may try to recreate the conditions of the accident in a laboratory setting or use computer software to simulate the accident based on the available data. Experts will rely on various scientific disciplines, including physics, vehicle dynamics, kinematics, or mechanical engineering, to determine what happened in a car accident to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty.
Why Is Accident Reconstruction Important?
Many car accident claims include conflicting accounts from the drivers and passengers involved in the crash. Everyone involved in a car accident or who witnesses the accident will see the crash from a different perspective and may notice details not visible to other drivers or passengers. Drivers and passengers may have their recollections of the accident subconsciously influenced by their personal interests and goals. Each driver and passenger will want to deflect blame for the crash and maximize their financial recovery for their injuries or property damage.
Because accident reconstruction evaluates physical evidence from the crash scene according to scientific principles, a reconstruction report or testimony can provide a clearer picture of what happened in a car accident to help an insurer, lawyer, or jury determine who caused the crash.
Some of the benefits that accident reconstruction provides for auto accident cases include:
- A reconstruction expert can testify to interpret their written report or physical/animated reconstruction of the accident.
- Accident reconstruction can identify an auto accident’s underlying cause(s).
- A reconstructionist can support your recollection of the crash, which may prove necessary when the other driver has a conflicting account.
- Accident reconstruction experts may also provide testimony explaining how the accident caused the injuries you’ve claimed to have suffered.
Accident reconstruction can also help make roads and intersections safer. A reconstructionist may determine that road/intersection design or roadway conditions caused or contributed to an accident. They may also find that the stretch of road or intersection where the accident occurred has a history of crashes. This data may spur local or state traffic officials to redesign a road or intersection to improve safety.
Important Evidence Used in Crash Reconstruction
A car accident reconstruction may use various pieces of evidence gathered from a crash to piece together what happened in the accident, including:
- Accident/citation records
- Accident scene photos/videos, including photos of vehicle damage, skid marks, traffic controls, and road/weather/lighting/traffic conditions
- Dashcam/helmet cam footage
- Drivers’ cell phone records
- Eyewitness statements
- GPS logs
- Police crash reports
- Post-accident vehicle inspections
- Safety recall records for the vehicles involved in the crash
- Surveillance or traffic camera footage
- Traffic signal timing records
- Vehicle event data recorder (“black box”) logs
- Vehicle maintenance records
- Weather reports/records
Reach Out to an Experienced New York Car Accident Attorney Today
After you’ve gotten into a devastating auto accident, you may need help from a car accident reconstruction expert to prove the other driver’s fault for the crash. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can discuss how our New York car accident attorneys work with industry-leading experts in accident reconstruction to build compelling legal claims that enable us to fight for maximum financial recovery for our clients.