A person that causes a car accident will generally be liable for the resulting damages and injuries, but proving who caused the accident is not always a straightforward exercise. That proof often turns on the analysis of the vehicles and the accident scene by experienced car crash reconstruction investigators.
The Salamati Law Firm in Los Angeles represents car accident victims who are seeking to recover damages from the parties that are responsible for the accident. We routinely work with automobile crash reconstruction investigators who develop the evidence that we then use both to negotiate with insurers and to prove in courtroom trials that our clients have suffered losses as a result of another party’s negligent or reckless driving.
Crash Reconstruction Part 1: Analysis of the Accident Scene
In most serious accidents, police department crash reconstructionists will examine the scene as soon as is possible after the accident to determine if any of the drivers of the vehicles should be charged with a traffic violation. They will likely take the same measurements and perform the same tasks as a traffic accident engineer who assists attorneys to apportion civil liability for damages in the accident, including:
- Taking photographs of the accident scene;
- Measuring visible skid marks on pavement and any roadway damage to extrapolate the speed of the vehicles involved;
- Examining surveillance video from businesses or ATMs in the vicinity of the accident;
- Noting weather and traffic conditions at the time of the accident, including the angle of the sun and relative visibility as drivers approach the accident scene;
- Analyzing debris fields and the dispersal of glass and other materials from the vehicles to assess vehicle directions and speeds immediately prior to the accident.
This information gives investigators a snapshot of the road and other conditions that confronted the drivers immediately prior to the accident.
Crash Reconstruction Part 2: Analysis of the Vehicles
If the vehicles are not drivable, authorities will typically arrange to have them towed to an impound lot or some other location where they can be examined. Because evidence of responsibility for an accident can be dissipated when vehicles are moved, an attorney who represents car accident victims will want an investigator to analyze the damaged vehicles as soon as is possible after the accident. Accordingly, if you are in a serious accident, you can improve your opportunity to recover compensation for your damages and injuries if you contact a car accident attorney immediately.
The attorney’ crash investigator will inspect each of the vehicles, looking for things such as:
- Air bag deployment;
- Mechanical defects;
- Maintenance of important safety systems, such as the breaks and headlamps;
- The relative amounts of deflection and damage of parts, which can provide critical clues as to each car’s speed and direction at the time of the crash;
The car crash investigator will also download any available data from the car’s onboard event data recorder, which is the automotive equivalent of an airplane’s “black box”. That device and other technology can give the investigator a very clear picture of how the accident happened and which car was likely the accident’s catalyst.
Crash Reconstruction Part 3: The Aftermath
The investigator will not have witnessed an accident directly, but will reconstruct it from forensic evidence that the accident created. The party that caused an accident and his or her insurers will often challenge this analysis. If a car accident case goes to trial, the responsible party will usually seek to disqualify the investigator’s report with arguments that the car accident reconstructionist does not have the qualifications or knowledge to produce a technical report that a court is being asked to rely upon.
An experienced car accident attorney will anticipate these challenges and will know how to rebut them when they arise. When you are retaining an attorney to represent you in a car accident case, you should ask that attorney for information and references for the car crash investigator that he proposes to retain on your behalf.
Call Car Crash Lawyer Sean Salamati in Southern California
Sean Salamati has helped clients in Los Angeles County and throughout southern California to recover compensation for their injuries and property losses that they have suffered in car accidents. Our firm has strong relationships with many skilled car accident reconstruction investigators who produce detailed reports that we use to prove which party caused an accident.
If you or a loved one have been hurt in crash, call the law offices of Sean Salamati, one of the premier car accident lawyers in Los Angeles. Your initial consultation is free and you owe no money unless we win your case.
- washingtonpost.com: The Wreckage Speaks: A Crash Reconstruction Team Tells Stories that Victims Can’t. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/tripping/wp/2018/02/27/the-wreckage-speaks-a-crash-reconstruction-team-tells-stories-that-victims-cant/?utm_term=.dbbfb8102ad5
- thebalancecareers.com: Traffic Crash Reconstructionist Job Information. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/traffic-crash-reconstructionist-job-information-974477