You’ve just been in a car accident. Odds are, you’re shaken up, and there’s even a good chance you don’t remember every detail of how and why the accident occurred. What you do remember, clearly, is that you never left your lane—the other car did, crossing the center line by at least 5 feet. You also noticed, a moment before impact, that the driver of the other car was on his mobile phone—that, you surmise, was the likely cause of the accident.
There’s just one problem: the other driver directly contradicts your version of events. He says he was not distracted—by his phone or anything else—and that you were the one who crossed into his lane. Question: with conflicting stories, what do you do?
WHAT IS ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION?
Accident reconstruction is a scientific process which provides objective evidence about the causes of an accident. An accident reconstructionist is a skilled professional, typically with specialized training in science, engineering and law enforcement, who can review evidence at the scene of the accident, as well as interview witnesses to make an objective determination. Avvo defines accident reconstruction as follows:
“Accident reconstruction defines the process of investigating, analyzing, and formulating conclusions about the causes and events during a vehicle collision.”
WHEN DO YOU NEED TO HIRE AN ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTIONIST?
It’s not necessary following every accident to hire a reconstructionist. The evidence is some cases is clear and straightforward. Some cases, however, are sufficiently complex (for example, involving conflicting testimony from multiple witnesses) that a reconstruction professional can clear up any confusion when a case goes to trial. In addition, some cases are far more serious than others, involving personal injury or death. The stakes in those circumstances are high, and it’s important that expert testimony is provided to the court.
When the reconstructionist testifies, he or she can provide compelling scientific evidence, such as models, simulations, photographs and animations to demonstrate persuasively how an accident occurred. That testimony can spell the difference between success and failure in your case.
WHAT WILL THE RECONSTRUCTION PROFESSIONAL DO TO HELP ME WIN MY CASE?
To be adequately compensated for your injuries and property damage, you need to demonstrate that the other party was negligent. The accident reconstructionist can help you do that by following established procedures the purpose of which is to determine on the basis of scientific investigation precisely what happened.
He or she will, for example, visit the crash site, where he might measure skid marks, photograph the road and any important street signs, and assess any potential visibility issues. Based on those observations, the reconstructionist will write a report which he details the cause (or causes) of the accident, a report he can then refer to in court. His report might include, for example, actions that could have been taken to prevent the accident, including any driving errors that took place.
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE BEST ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTIONIST?
Generally, you’ll want to rely on your personal injury lawyer to help you identify the best reconstruction expert for your case. That said, there are some rules of thumb to ensure you choose a reputable professional. What are his credentials, education and training? How much experience does he have? Is he reputable in the community? Finally, how successful has he been in cases similar to yours? Remember that he’ll likely be questioned in court about the extent of his expertise and experience—you want to ensure he can stand up to that scrutiny.
If you’ve been involved in an accident—and particularly when you are the victim of another driver’s negligence—you want to ensure that you put your best foot forward in court. That means working with a competent and experienced personal injury attorney. Our St. Paul criminal defense and personal injury attorneys will take the time to learn the details of your case and fight for your rights. To schedule your free consultation, contact us today.
Posted by Rogosheske, Rogosheske & Atkins