How an Accident Reconstructionist Approaches a Truck Crash
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), thousands of semi-trucks get into accidents each year on state roadways. In 2014, nearly 20,000 truck accidents involving 120 fatalities and more than 4,400 injuries occurred in Illinois. Because of the size of these vehicles, those in truck accidents are more likely to incur serious injuries or be killed. Due to the fatalities and severe injuries that often arise from a truck crash, damages may reach amounts higher than the average car accident.
It is important to determine the parties responsible for the damages incurred in a truck wreck. Sometimes this means hiring an accident reconstructionist.
An accident reconstructionist can determine what happened in an accident and help apportion fault accordingly. These experts are trained in accident reconstruction, and typically have education and experience in physics, engineering, and law enforcement. They will use scientific methods to find the answers of how and why the accident occurred. Once the reconstruction is complete, a report with the findings will be produced, shared with a truck accident lawyer, and used in an attempt to resolve any legal claims for damages.
Accident Reconstruction Methodology
An accident reconstruction expert typically starts the process in reverse by analyzing the last part of the accident that occurred: where the vehicles ended up after the collision. By reviewing the final resting place of the vehicles and other relevant factors such as weather and visibility, an accident reconstructionist can determine speeds at the time of the crash, driver behavior, and other potential factors. Once the scientific analysis is complete, a reconstructionist can testify as to possible accident avoidance, collision severity, and even code violations that may have had a role in the crash.
Steps a reconstructionist might take while evaluating a case include:
Accident reconstruction experts often visit the scene of the crash to gather data. By going to the accident scene, they review how busy a road might be at any given time of day, or if there were any natural or man-made obstructions that blocked the clear view of drivers. Reconstructionists also rely on several other sources of information to help their analysis. Accidents often have a traffic report generated by responding police officers. In addition, there are likely photographs of the vehicles involved and where the crash occurred. Depending on the seriousness of the crash, reports from medical personnel, including those performed on occupant injuries or autopsies, might be studied.
Additional data available to reconstructionists includes state transportation records on the number of crashes on particular roads or intersections. Documentation related to the vehicles garnered from crash test reports, vehicle specifications, and repair estimates might also be reviewed. Through this information, the accident reconstructionist can determine vital information pertinent to calculating personal and property damages.
Accident reconstruction should include inspection of the vehicles involved in a truck crash. Even if there are pictures that have been analyzed, a reconstructionist gains invaluable information from an in-person examination. Pictures can’t always show the damage in ways that speaks to the forces at play in creating it.
While inspecting crashed vehicles, accident reconstructionists look for clues by sitting in the trucks and cars involved (if possible), and examining the undercarriages, door openings, and wheel rims. Because of their backgrounds in physics and engineering, these experts can glean important information about the collision from these actions. For example, an undercarriage inspection can show gouge marks, that reveals information about the time of impact. Debris trapped in doors or wheels can be evidence of when doors came open, or tires went flat.
Why You Need an Accident Reconstructionist
If you or a loved one was involved in a truck crash, you might need an accident reconstructionist to help determine your damages. The testimony of such an individual helps establish fault so that those liable are held responsible. When you focus on healing, a reconstructionist can visit the accident site, take down valuable information, and let you know of certain factors that might affect your case. Your personal injury lawyer will make a decision to bring in an accident reconstructionist based on the facts of the case.
Jared Staver is the founder of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., a law firm located in Chicago, IL, where he helps injured truck accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve.
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