Accident Reconstruction Traffic Crash Investigation Experts
Accident Reconstruction Info. Lawyers looking to bring a claim, or police fatal crash investigators will often need to employ experts to reconstruct the scene of the accident. Experts will try to determine the most probable scenario that led to the accident. Operator or operational factors are the major cause of 90% of auto accidents. Information including statements, photos, skid marks, road way factors, laws of physics are used to analyze the dynamics of the collision. The most important evidence will be physical evidence in the form of photos and measurements of the scene often taken by police investigators at the scene in fatal and catastrophic injury cases. A diagram can be constructed showing the impact and rest positions.
Accident Reconstruction: Types of evidence used by the investigator:
-The accident scene will include a "point of impact" analysis including the preimpact and post impact tire marks.
-Photographs that establish the layout and perspective of the scene.
-Eyewitness testimony: usually the statements are examined for their corroborative value and weighed against the physical evidence.
Roadway factors or geometrics refers to the road operating environment. An analysis of a roadway may include: the roadside design, the frictional properties, construction materials, wear, width, cross-slope, super-elevation, horizontal and vertical curvature, maintenance, ride quality, average daily traffic, traffic mix, designed use, and structural integrity. Documentation of the roadway environment is crucial in most collision reconstruction cases. Often the roadway itself is a contributing factor in the collision.
Pavement and Shoulder Conditions: Poor pavement and shoulder conditions can play a role in the occurrence of an accident. Bumps, potholes, pavement roughness, and pavement edge drop-off are just a few of the pavement conditions that could cause difficulty for the drivers. There are standard roadway maintenance practices and regulations that departments must abide by to create a safe operating environment.
Friction Evaluation: Friction is the resisting force of motion between two surfaces when they are in contact. The friction generated between any two surfaces is important in reconstruction since friction converts kinetic energy to heat, noise and deformation and damage of materials. Friction analysis can determine the speed of a car. In most car accident cases the friction is between the roadway and the tire, however it is also present in metal to pavement contact, and metal to soil contact in rollover collisions and in motorcycle pre- and post- impact trajectories.
Weather Conditions: usually found in the police report these can be verified from local newspapers and weather services. A record of these conditions helps establish whether slippery or wet roads affected the accident. Road conditions
are critical to establishing the drag and speed at the time of the accident.
Lighting Conditions: lighting is the most important issue involving accidents at night. Many people overestimate their seeing ability at night and very often the headlights are insufficient to reveal potential collisions in time for the operator to avoid them. The materials used in the construction of roadway surfaces often reflect light in different ways. The road surface has a significant effect on the drivers recognition of objects and vehicles on the road. Ambient lighting, headlights, moisture conditions and other factors make up a complex set of conditions that determine whether an object or roadway geometry is visible. Pedestrians are often hit at night because the road is not adequately lit or the victim is wearing dark clothing. In this cases it can be determined that the driver could not have seen the pedestrian until it was too late. Pedestrian can often see the car, while the operator cannot see them.
Driving Histories: Establishing the driving record of the operators in an accident can help establish liability and poor skill.
Traffic signals and Signs: Examination of the relevant traffic control is crucial especially if the operator ignored or did not see a sign or signal. Experts can establish the timing in seconds of the delay between a set of lights turning red and the other turning green. Whether the view was obstructed and the placement of the signs is also useful. Compliance with state and federal regulations and conformity with the rules can be determined in a collision case. Signing, traffic control, highway layout and design are evaluated using the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and the rules of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
Guard Rails, Crash Cushions and Utility Poles
Reconstructionists look to the design of various crash cushion, guard rail systems, median barrier systems and break-away roadside objects.
Types of Accidents:
Two cars at an intersection. Both vehicles need to be examined for damage and contact match points established, which reveal precisely how the vehicles made contact and helps establish the angle that existed between the two cars at the time of the collision. This angle and the separation angles can be used to determine the speed of each car at impact.
Pedestrian Accidents. Skid marks can be measured to help determine the vehicle's speed and stopping distance. Without skid marks it can be difficult to determine the speed, but the total distance the pedestrian traveled can be helpful. The height of a leg fracture can be used to determine if the car was braking at the time of impact.
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