There is usually a police report when people are injured in a motor vehicle collision. But independent investigators will also often step in to examine the crash site and damaged property. Their goal is to determine if one or both drivers were negligent. The investigation may yield such details as one driver was distracted, fell asleep behind the wheel or moving well above the posted speed limit at the time of the crash.
What do they do?
These trained investigators often come from backgrounds as law officers, automotive technologists or engineers. They consider many different details to determine what actually happened. They do this by:
- Establishing the location of the collision
- Noting where the vehicles ended up after contact
- Noting skidmarks, gouges and scrub marks
- The setting of where the collision took place, including visibility, weather, road design details, the status of asphalt and other details
It is often best for them to go to the crash scene, but they can also use photographs shot at the time or following the collision. They take this information and apply physics, mathematics, and engineering principles to arrive at expert opinions on the cause, velocity, and driver visibility.
Why do they do it?
Compiling all this information enables the plaintiff’s legal team to strengthen their argument over who caused the collision. Unfortunately, the traumatic nature of collisions can leave eyewitnesses unreliable, particularly as time passes and the case finally goes to trial. Rather than based on what eyewitnesses or those involved recall, the crash reconstruction is fact-based.
These expert witnesses will also often testify in court. They will use visual aids and even computer simulations to illustrate what happened and answer questions regarding their analysis. It should be noted that the insurance company may hire their own expert, so a qualified and experienced witness can also disprove inaccurate facts or theories.
Legal guidance still necessary
Expert witnesses are an essential part of many cases involving motor vehicle crashes, but a personal injury attorney oversees the plaintiff’s claim. They create convincing cases that steadfastly argue the expert’s point and support other information provided by the plaintiff, thus securing an appropriate amount of compensation for the victim.