A car wreck happens in a matter of seconds. In the aftermath, it is the job of insurance adjusters, judges, juries, and lawyers to figure out what happened. This job is not always easy, as witnesses’ memories may be biased or incomplete. Some crashes have little physical evidence available to paint a picture of how the collision occurred. Accident reconstruction attempts to take the available evidence and use it to show a judge or jury what transpired that led to a crash. Accident reconstruction expert try to apply scientific methods to accidents. Lawyers attempt their own type of reconstruction actions when they argue the facts of their cases before judges and juries.
Whether accident reconstruction happens through the efforts of a lawyer, an expert, or someone else, a quality reconstruction of your accident can mean the difference between your case’s success and its failure.
An Overview of Accident Reconstruction
Each individual approaches the task of accident reconstruction differently, so the steps one person takes for one case will differ from what another reconstructionist does in a different case. Most efforts begin by assembling all available evidence regarding an injury accident or wreck.
This evidence includes photographs, police reports, diagrams, and witness statements. The reconstructionist might interview certain witnesses again to elicit more details from them or test the integrity of their accounts.
The scope of this collection effort extends beyond the seconds before impact. Instead, the reconstructionist will seek out all relevant information they can find, looking for any incident, event, or decision made by a driver that could help explain why the accident under investigation occurred.
Once the reconstructionist has assembled as much relevant evidence as possible, the hard work of making sense of it begins.
The reconstructionist’s task is to put all available evidence into one cohesive narrative. This narrative explains what factors led to the crash, how it happened, and what role the various responsible parties played in bringing about the collision.
Questions that Accident Reconstruction Answers
When you accurately reconstruct an accident, the reconstruction can answer several significant questions for litigants in a car accident or other injury incident. These questions may include:
Who Was Primarily at Fault in the Accident?
The most crucial question in any injury accident is the question of liability. In almost every accident case, the person most responsible for causing the accident is responsible for compensating other injured parties. A thorough accident reconstruction can conclusively identify who this person is if the issue of liability is in dispute.
What Role Did Others Play in Causing the Wreck?
Several contributing factors in a wreck may have made the crash more likely to happen under the circumstances. These factors can include careless decisions you made leading up to the crash that, while not causing the crash, did contribute to the incident.
Every state handles the negligence of others in its own way. Some states will reduce the total amount of damages you receive in proportion to any negligence the court attributes to you. A minority of states will bar you from recovering any compensation if you were in any way negligent.
An accident reconstruction, when done properly, can explain all of the decisions made by all of the involved parties that led up to the crash. Reconstruction can also expound upon what role, if any, each decision played in how the crash unfolded.
Did Other Factors Also Play a Role in the Crash?
Finally, an accident reconstruction can reveal hidden factors that were present at the crash but that might otherwise escape notice. Skid marks might show, for example, that one car had defective brakes, making it more difficult for the driver to stop the vehicle. The angle of the roadway might have been too steep or too shallow for safe driving.
While the presence of these and other factors might not excuse a negligent driver, they could mitigate that driver’s culpability.
Reconstruction Presents a Complete Picture
The principal benefit of an accident reconstruction is a complete and accurate explanation of the events that led to your crash. The more objective the accident reconstruction, the more believable it will be to a judge and jury.
Conversely, the fact finder in your case will likely disregard an accident reconstruction based only on opinions and inferences.
How to Tell if You Need an Accident Reconstruction in Your Car Accident Case
Only some personal injury cases or car accident lawsuits will benefit from an accident reconstruction. Accident reconstruction can be lengthy and costly and may not yield large rewards in all cases. An ongoing reconstruction effort can also delay the resolution of any claim or lawsuit related to the crash.
Accident reconstruction may not be appropriate in cases where:
- There are only two parties involved in the wreck
- Both parties have indicated a willingness to settle
- There is an admission of fault by one driver or the other
- You live in a “no-fault” insurance state and did not suffer severe injuries
Before hiring an accident reconstruction expert or looking for an investigator who can complete a reconstruction, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer about the costs and benefits of accident reconstruction in your case.
Contact The Joel Bieber Firm Following a Car Accident
Trust the knowledgeable and seasoned legal team at The Joel Bieber Firm to help you investigate your car accident and prosecute a claim for damages. We can review your case and determine whether an accident reconstruction would improve your odds of success.
You only have a limited amount of time to file a claim for damages after a car accident, so make sure to contact The Joel Bieber Firm as soon as possible.