“Who was liable for the accident?” This is a question that arises in every third-party insurance claim. If you were seriously hurt through the fault of another person, you’re going to have to prove liability in order to recover an award of damages. One of the many kinds of evidence that might be used to prove liability in a car accident case is the deposition of accident reconstruction experts.
What Is an Accident Reconstruction Expert?
An accident reconstruction expert is someone who specializes in recreating collision scenarios. They may be retained by either the plaintiff or defendant or both to determine how a crash happened and who was responsible. If a case proceeds to discovery, the deposition of an accident reconstruction expert might serve as valuable evidence. Such experts may also provide testimony during trial.
How Do Accident Reconstruction Experts Recreate a Collision?
It is often necessary for an accident reconstruction expert to conduct a thorough investigation, as a detective would when investigating a crime. This might involve:
- Visiting the scene of the accident,
- Interviewing eyewitnesses,
- Reviewing the police report,
- Watching surveillance footage,
- Reviewing medical records,
- Inspecting vehicle damage,
- Reviewing photographs or debris, skid marks, and property damage, and
- Analyzing black box data.
Sometimes an accident will be reconstructed using 3-D reenactment models, allowing for a compelling presentation of evidence at trial.
Who Needs an Accident Reconstruction Expert?
Some cases do not require an accident reconstruction expert. This might be true if there is no disagreement regarding liability or there is sufficient evidence for your attorney to establish liability without bringing in such an expert.
Below are a few signs that indicate your case might be strengthened by the input and perhaps the deposition of an accident reconstruction expert:
- Liability is in dispute or unclear,
- There weren’t any eyewitnesses,
- There’s no dashcam or surveillance footage, and
- Critical pieces of evidence are destroyed or missing.
How Could an Accident Reconstruction Expert Help with My Case?
Here are just some of the ways an accident reconstruction expert could help with your case:
- Providing deposition and testimony about how the accident happened in order to establish liability,
- Overcoming untruthful or inaccurate deposition provided by the opposing party and/or eyewitnesses,
- Helping resolve disputes pertaining to contradictory evidence, and
- Identifying important evidence that would strengthen your case.
One of the benefits of deposing an accident reconstruction expert is that their findings are usually given more credence than the findings of the plaintiff’s attorney. Juries are more inclined to trust the conclusions of a neutral expert than those expounded by the lawyer representing the party who is seeking financial damages.
It is important, however, that you hire an attorney who has experience working with accident reconstruction experts. Such a lawyer will know how to get the most value out of the expert’s testimony and will have access to a well-credentialed expert whose testimony will be objective, evidence-based, and capable of standing up against the defense’s cross-examination.
What Answers Might an Accident Reconstruction Expert Be Able to Answer?
An accident reconstruction expert can provide insight into many aspects of a case. Specifically, they may be able to answer the following questions:
- At what speed was each vehicle traveling when the crash happened? Might speeding have contributed to the wreck?
- What maneuvers were made by each driver just before the collision?
- Were the brakes applied before the accident? If not, perhaps the liable driver was texting, falling asleep, or otherwise behaving negligently.
- Does the vehicle damage indicate that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused in the accident?
- Were any of the parties involved not wearing a seatbelt?
- What other factors might have contributed to the accident? Examples include the weather conditions and poorly maintained or negligently designed roads.
- Was either vehicle unsafe to drive due to improper tire pressure, brake issues, or another mechanical problem? Might this issue have contributed to the crash?
Why Are Accident Reconstruction Experts Important in Personal Injury Cases?
The findings of an accident reconstruction expert can have a direct and profound impact on the outcome of a personal injury case. If you are unable to prove that the defendant more likely than not is liable for your damages, your case will not be successful. In some cases, the defense accepts liability but argues that a percentage of fault should be imposed on the plaintiff. When a plaintiff is found partially liable for the tort that caused their damages, their financial recovery is reduced by their own percentage of fault. This can translate into a significant reduction in the plaintiff’s net recovery.
The deposition of an accident reconstruction expert can help a plaintiff’s attorney prove that the defendant was in fact liable for the crash, that the crash was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages, and that the injuries sustained by the plaintiff are of a severity such that they could reasonably have been caused in the accident. If the defense asserts that you were partially liable, the deposition of such an expert might help your attorney minimize the percentage of fault imposed on you or eliminate it entirely.
Speak to a Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer Today
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
Getting fairly compensated for car accident injuries may involve an uphill legal battle. Besides consulting with various experts, your attorney may need to file subpoenas to obtain evidence that is being withheld and overcome various defenses asserted by the insurance company.
Attorney Michael D. Waks can provide exceptional advocacy through every stage of the proceedings. He knows what it takes to win substantial settlements and verdicts for car accident victims, and he will use all the resources at his disposal to pursue the best possible resolution to your case. Send us an email or call (562) 206-1939 for a free consultation.
Download Our Car Accident Emergency .PDF
Download and print our Car Accident Emergency .PDF so you always know what to do at the scene of a collision. This handy guide explains the most important steps to take and the kinds of evidence to gather while at the scene.
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