Car accidents happen all the time, and they are violent, fast, and can be confusing for everyone involved. Piecing them together to determine what happened is crucial for determining who is liable and for litigation. Accident site analysis used to be close to impossible in the past, but we now have advanced forensics and powerful computers that make it much easier to do this. Here’s how experts collect what they need and analyze accident scenes.
Preserving the Scene
An accident expert begins piecing together the accident site for analysis as soon as possible after the accident. There’s a lot of critical evidence at the scene, and they need to collect it for further analysis. Even the smallest debris can indicate speed and travel direction depending on how they landed, so they can become an important part of putting together and analyzing an accident scene.
Understanding Accident Physics
To understand and analyze an accident, an expert needs to understand collision physics, with the two most important variables in the equation being momentum and kinetic energy. When two vehicles collide, they lose their kinetic energy as sound, heat, and other forms but maintain their momentum.
If you know the weight of the vehicles involved in the accident, the drag coefficient of the ground, the distance they traveled after the accident, and the direction they ended up facing after stopping, you can calculate the momentum they both had.
Knowing momentum and relative directions of travel is an important starting point for understanding who hit who and who was at fault. Such information can prove liability and thus help you when you hire personal injury lawyers to get you compensation.
Experts can collect data from various sources. The first is any recording devices installed in the vehicle. Many vehicles now have dash cams or devices that record their speed and other data. Experts can collect this data and use it alongside other types of data to find out how an accident happened.
Another very important source of data is skid marks. The length of skid marks can tell experts how fast a vehicle was traveling. Once the expert has the braking efficiency of both vehicles, the friction of the road’s surface, and the skid distance, they can calculate the speed at which the car started skidding.
Experts can also determine whether the car was accelerating, braking, sliding, or traveling normally when it was hit by or hit another vehicle. Because of this, skid marks can be a significant indicator of which driver was reckless and thus liable for the accident.
Collecting Images and Videos
Photographs and videos are key to analyzing accident scenes because they allow experts to analyze the scene indefinitely without missing any pieces. Remember that police usually clear accident scenes very quickly to ensure traffic starts to flow again as soon as possible.
They also allow investigators who were not on the scene to analyze it as if they were there. Experts can also scan the photographs and combine them with videos to recreate the scene in 3D space in a computer so they can manipulate it however and as much as they want.
Lastly, photographs and videos are critical evidence should the case go to court. Experts can collect photographs from eyewitnesses and videos from neighboring houses and businesses if they are willing to hand them over. They can also take their own pictures to have a much better and broader view of the scene when they start their analysis on a computer.
Inspecting the Vehicles and Damage
How much damage a vehicle has sustained and where the damage is located are also key in determining the impact’s speed, angle, and severity. Forensic experts can also contact the cars’ manufacturers to find out how their braking systems work and their collision ratings.
Having this information allows investigators to understand the impact better and judge its severity differently. For example, they might know the force it takes to dent a bumper. If that bumper is completely crushed, they know what forces they are dealing with.
During their inspection, experts will also check for hair, blood, and skin inside the vehicle. Their presence can shed more light on the types of forces the people in the cars experienced and how their bodies moved during and after the accident. This information is especially important in catastrophic personal injury cases as the presence of hair, skin, and blood can prove how injuries occurred during an accident.
Other Factors to Consider
An accident expert can also consider other factors when analyzing a car accident scene. These include the driver’s visibility, which can be impacted by numerous factors, including lighting conditions, weather, vehicle illumination, and road signs showing mergers, for example.
Producing Results for Speed, Force, and Direction
Once experts have all the data and have analyzed an accident scene, they will produce results for the force of collusion, the direction the vehicles were traveling, and their approximate speeds. All of these can help show where one driver was speeding.
The angle and force of the impact can also show where a driver was driving recklessly. For example, there is no reason for side accidents in places with no intersections. The only reason for this is that a driver was driving recklessly. In such case, you should call a lawyer specializing in car or truck accidents to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Because they analyze car accident scenes and form opinions, these experts can also be called to testify in court. The other party will try to debunk their assessment, especially if they are the defendants in a personal injury lawsuit. The expert should, therefore, only use analysis methods and techniques that can stand up to scrutiny.
Auto accidents are destructive and violent. If you get injured in one, you need to file a lawsuit which will require you to prove the other party was liable. An accident expert can help you recreate and analyze the accident scene to understand it better. Once you do and want to file a lawsuit, you can visit our offices at the following locations:
- Westerville – 4151 Executive Pkwy, Suite 355, Westerville, OH 43081
- Mansfield – 33 S. Lexington-Springmill Rd, Mansfield, OH 44906
You can also call now for a free consultation on (614) 224-4114.