Auto Accident Investigations

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The purpose of auto accident reconstruction is to determine the cause of traffic accidents. The most common causes of auto accidents is human error. Auto accidents also frequently happen as a result of:

  • Mechanical failures;
  • Inclement weather; and
  • Roadway maintenance issues.

Investigating Auto Accidents: Reconstruction of an Accident Scene

Accident reconstruction is usually employed after serious accidents which result in death or catastrophic injury and involves the use of physics to determine the speed and location of the vehicles at the time of impact. Police officers or accident reconstruction experts handle accident reconstructions.

Accident reconstruction begins at the accident scene, but may also include investigation into the activities of the drivers immediately prior to the accident and the repair and maintenance history of the vehicles involved in the accident. Accident investigations include a review of the following:

  • Victim and witness statements;
  • Photos of the accident scene;
  • Physical inspection of the vehicles involved in the accident;
  • Photos of the vehicles involved in the accident;
  • Pre-impact skid marks;
  • Post-impact skid marks;
  • Measurements taken at the accident scene;
  • Weather conditions;
  • Lighting conditions;
  • Traffic signals and signs;
  • Driving histories of the drivers involved;
  • Examination of guardrails, crash cushions, and utility poles;
  • Roadway conditions; and
  • Physics.

Problems and Disputes With Auto Accident Investigations

When auto accident investigations and accident reconstructions are conducted by untrained police personnel, mistakes are often made. If relevant information is not collected or if incorrect data is gathered at the accident scene, the result can be an inconclusive or incorrect auto accident report. This is especially detrimental when an accident victim relies on the auto accident report in an effort to prove that the defendant was the cause of the accident.

When Are Accident Reconstruction Experts Used?

Accident reconstruction is not necessary for fender benders and traffic accidents resulting in minor injuries. In such cases, insurance companies and attorneys often rely on the auto accident report taken by the police officer who responded to the accident scene.

On the other hand, if an accident results in a catastrophic injury or death, accident reconstruction is critical. Insurance companies often use accident reconstruction experts where their exposure to a claim is extremely high because the auto accident resulted in a catastrophic injury or death. Insurance claims adjusters rely heavily on accident reconstruction reports when negotiating a settlement in such cases.

Help from an Auto Accident Lawyer

If you have been in an auto accident, you should consult with an attorney immediately. The attorney will evaluate your case and advise you of your legal options. If necessary, your attorney will also hire an auto accident reconstruction expert as a part the litigation strategy.