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Should you hire a crash reconstructionist?

Sometimes after a major accident involving multiple vehicles, like a pile-up on an interstate, investigators and attorneys may rely on crash reconstruction in order to get a truer picture of the pre-impact circumstances that led up to the wreck.

Crash reconstruction is not limited to multi-vehicle highway collisions, however. It can be useful any time there is dispute or uncertainty over the cause of an accident. Reconstructionists rely on evidence at accident scenes and the principles of physics to come to their conclusions. In many ways, though, crash reconstruction is equal parts art and science, because the reconstructionist must have facility with the application of the equations to get an accurate outcome.

Reconstruction applies physics to a wreck site to determine information like the angle of the impact and the speed of the vehicles. Together with causative factors that can include analyzing mechanical failures, road conditions, driver impairment and/or distraction, braking distances and other circumstances, liability for an accident can be determined with a high degree of accuracy.

The accident site will be inspected and measurements taken from vehicular evidence like skid marks and gouges. Later, the vehicles themselves will be scrutinized and the damage to all components will be recorded.Only when the investigative side of the process is finished will the reconstruction take place. Often, there is incomplete information, forcing the reconstructionist to hypothesize about missing evidence. Out of an abundance of caution, any assumptions made must be conservative toward the bias of whomever hired him or her.In cases where speed is unknown, for example, an ethical reconstructionist will reflect higher velocity for the client's vehicle, while the other vehicle is determined to be lower.

If you are in the midst of a contested claim after an accident, ask your attorney if hiring a reconstructionist could be advantageous.

Source: crashforensics.com, "Motor-Vehicle Crash Reconstruction Services," accessed April 08, 2016

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