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Utilizing Accident Reconstruction Experts for Your Personal Injury Case

Accident reconstruction experts are key witnesses in personal injury cases.

The key to winning a personal injury case is preparation. We build rock-solid cases to win the maximum possible compensation for our clients. Using the services of an accident reconstruction expert is an essential part of building your case.

A reconstruction specialist can reveal the process and cause of an accident by conducting a forensic examination of the scene and facts. Their conclusions can be indispensable in a personal injury claim, either in securing a settlement or presenting the case to a jury.

At Bisnar Chase, our firm only uses the best experts. We work with tried and trusted professionals to give you the best chance of success. That’s why our firm has a 99% success rate, with more than $850 million won for our clients. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the accident reconstruction process and why it is so vital for your injury case.

Contact our team now for a free consultation to find out if you have a personal injury case.

About Accident Reconstruction in Legal Cases

What Does an Accident Reconstruction Expert Do?

Reconstruction experts examine and investigate accidents. They try to reverse-engineer the process, looking at the evidence and the outcome to determine how and why it happened.

They are frequently used as expert witnesses in all kinds of legal cases, from criminal to civil actions.

In personal injury cases, an accident reconstructionist often examines car accidents, truck collisions, motorcycle crashes, pedestrian accidents, and other traffic-related incidents. They could also look at premises liability, falls, aviation and watercraft accidents, wrongful deaths, and more.

The specialist will review any available evidence that can provide information about the circumstances of the accident. This evidence could include:

  • The scene of the accident, in person or through pictures.
  • Any vehicles involved in the accident.
  • Police and medical reports relating to the crash and injuries.
  • Any witness statements, deposition statements, crash test reports, or other related information.
  • Recorded data, such as the speeds of the vehicles involved.

An accident reconstruction expert’s job is to use the information available to them to build a complete picture of how the accident occurred. This picture will include the events that led to the incident and any contributing factors or negligence.

Most importantly, accident reconstruction experts establish a clear link between the accident and your injury, bolstering the credibility of your case.

Techniques Used in Accident Reconstruction

Accident reconstruction is a particularly valuable part of an injury case because it is a scientific process. It looks at the facts, combining collected evidence with forensic examinations and calculations involving mathematics and physics. A specialist will incorporate these factors and disciplines to analyze what happened.

The techniques used as part of this analysis include:

  • Studying traffic patterns and weather conditions.
  • Retrieving data showing the speed and velocity of relevant vehicles.
  • Examining vehicle maintenance logs.
  • Checking tire wear and markings on the road surface.
  • Analyzing the point of impact on a vehicle.
  • Running simulations and modeling that replicate critical metrics in the real-world situation.
  • Running tests on existing vehicle components to replicate conditions.
  • Using identical makes and models of vehicles in crash tests.

Accident reconstruction professionals use undisputed facts and complex data sets to create a complete picture of a crash or injury scenario. This information can support an attorney’s supposition on how an accident happened.

Without evidence to back them up, a personal injury lawyer might as well be stating an opinion when they make their case. However, when an expert opinion based on forensic science backs the attorney’s conclusion, it carries far more weight.

Example: A Car Accident Reconstruction

The scenario below is a fictitious example of how a pro might develop a car accident reconstruction to boost a legal case.

A collision occurred between Car A and Car B at an intersection. The occupants of Car A suffered injuries and filed a lawsuit against the driver of Car B. The plaintiff’s legal team alleged that the defendant was speeding and did not take the necessary evasive actions despite having the opportunity to do so.

The accident reconstructionist could check black box data to determine the vehicle’s speed, pinpointing its trajectory. They could also examine the present traffic to determine whether the defendant had an obstructed view.

In addition, an expert could determine expected braking distances by testing the cars involved and accounting for their speed, wear, and tire conditions, as well as the weather conditions and road markings, if applicable. Examinations of the point of impact damage on the vehicles could also reveal key facts about the case.

Replicating the exact conditions of the incident is essential in ensuring that the defense cannot question the results. Variables can include tire wear, vehicle maintenance, and the make and model of the vehicle. Some accidents involve vehicle defects. In such cases, a deconstructionist will ideally conduct any testing using the exact vehicle in question. However, this will depend on its condition after the crash.

These findings could then be plugged into accident reconstruction software to build an animation of the accident to present to the jury, creating a visual portrayal of the facts.

What is Black Box Data?

Most people know that all aircraft have a data recorder known as a black box. The data recorded on a black box can be used to identify the technical condition of a plane. It also helps authorities locate the wreckage after a crash.

Many people do not realize that other types of vehicles also have black boxes. Cars and trucks now feature data devices that record the vehicle’s speed, points of collision, and the status of safety devices within the car, among other elements.

This information can be invaluable in the event of an accident lawsuit. Experts can use the data recorded to build an accurate reconstruction of the accident scene.

The Challenges of Accident Reconstruction in Legal Cases

Numerous challenges are associated with successfully utilizing an accident scene reconstruction in a personal injury case.

  • Injury cases are complex. One of the biggest challenges is not with the reconstruction process itself. It is in making it clear enough for a jury presentation. Experts deal with a huge amount of complex data, and there is no point throwing around masses of numbers and scientific terms at trial. Their greatest challenge is developing the complicated elements into an easily understandable medium for ordinary people.
  • There are subjective elements. Accident reconstructions are built using science and facts. However, they also sometimes rely on the expert’s experience. There might be some element of subjectivity to the findings. This is okay, provided the expert can give sound reasoning for their conclusions.
  • Conclusions need to withstand scrutiny. Your expert witness needs to be meticulous, thorough, and ready to defend their findings under intense questioning. The opposing legal team is responsible for casting doubts on the reconstructionist’s conclusions. However, as long as our expert does a comprehensive job, they will be able to speak to their findings and back their conclusions with confidence.

Personal injury trials are challenging, and the defense team will be ready to challenge us at every turn. That’s why it is important to work with a top-rated law firm like Bisnar Chase.

You must ensure that your firm uses the best experts, producing work that we are proud to stand behind and making the strongest and most compelling case possible on your behalf.

Who Pays for A Reconstruction Expert?

It will probably not surprise you to learn that accident reconstruction experts can be expensive. They are highly trained, and their time is valuable. More importantly, they offer great value in your case. Their testimony can be the difference between winning and losing.

So, how much does a reconstruction specialist cost, and who pays for that service?

It may cost thousands of dollars to hire a reconstruction specialist. The amount will depend on various factors, including the complexity of the case, how much time the expert has to put into it, and their level of skill, expertise, and renown.

While it represents a substantial cost, it is usually worth it when you factor in the added weight it gives to a case and the potential return on investment through a favorable settlement or verdict.

In any case, you do not have to worry about that cost. Bisnar Chase works on contingency. That means we advance the costs necessary to win your case, including paying an experienced reconstruction expert to work on your case.

No Win, No Fee

Bisnar Chase is a no win, no fee personal injury law firm. We always protect our clients from out-of-pocket costs because they can be a barrier preventing people from getting the quality legal representation they deserve.

Under our no win, no fee policy, we get a percentage of the final settlement or award to cover our expenses at the end of the case. This percentage is capped by law to ensure that everyone is treated fairly. If, for any reason, we do not win your case, you will not owe us anything, even if we have paid out a lot of money throughout the legal process. We swallow those costs to protect our clients and ensure our services are available and affordable for everyone.

How Will an Accident Reconstruction Be Presented?

In most cases, an accident reconstruction will be created during the litigation portion of a personal injury case. It is rare that it would be needed during the pre-litigation phase when we are dealing solely with insurers. We usually use this evidence to present to a jury, allowing them to visualize an accident and believe in our account of events.

So, how will an accident reconstruction be presented to jurors in a courtroom? There are several options, and some are more effective than others.

  • Written document.
  • Timeline.
  • Verbal presentation.
  • Computer-generated or enhanced images.
  • Animation.

In most cases, animation is the most effective form of presentation. It is the easiest way to visualize the scenario. You can also present the same incident from alternative angles and perspectives.

A reconstruction expert could also create different scenarios using different variables, allowing a legal team to counteract specific arguments and comprehensively answer jury questions.

How Can an Accident Reconstruction Help Your Case?

Accident reconstruction is an impressive science, but we wouldn’t hire these experts unless they helped your case. Simply put, an accident reconstruction expert will help your legal team establish liability, enhance their powers of persuasion through scientific proof, and convince a jury of what happened.

Making Complex Data Simple to Understand

Judges and juries are (usually) not scientists or crash experts. They cannot tell you what a stopping distance should be under certain weather conditions or read the complex data pulled from a car’s black box. We need an expert who can decipher that information and present it simply.

It is not enough for us to show that you are injured. We need a clear and captivating demonstration that shows the jury what the evidence says and how it relates to the accident. The best way to do that is to show them what happened using an accident reconstruction.

A reconstruction is demonstrative evidence that allows people to visualize the sequence of events rather than glazing over through written testimony.

Taking On the Insurance Company

A crash reconstruction expert can also help to remove the doubt that defense teams attempt to create.

Defendants will often say whatever they can to shift blame and escape liability. No one wants to lose a case and then face the costs of a jury verdict, vehicle repairs, and higher premiums.

In many cases, the defendant will be supported by their insurance company. Insurers want nothing less than to pay out on an expensive accident. It is worth their time fighting the claim, and they are very good at it.

They try to muddy the sequence of events, casting doubts over the plaintiff’s account in the hope of minimizing their client’s liability. But a top legal team backed by a skilled expert will use data to create easily digestible images and videos that support the true version of events.

Accident Reconstruction Qualifications

Many experts have a law enforcement background, as well as additional specialized training and certification in forensics, mathematics, physics, and the use of specialist software. They rely on extensive technical knowledge, combined with their own experience.

In choosing the specialists that we work with, Bisnar Chase looks at several key factors. These include:

  • Years of experience working on traffic accident reconstructions.
  • The number of incidents the expert has investigated.
  • Their level of training and certification.
  • Their record in personal injury cases.
  • How many times they have presented their findings to support a case in a court of law.

We only work with the best, ensuring that your experts are skilled, experienced, and confident. We put our faith in them to deliver the best possible courtroom results.

Testifying in Court

We are trial lawyers who take great pride in our courtroom record. Our attorneys are authoritative and experienced in commanding the room and making their case clearly and effectively.

But a great trial strategy goes beyond the lawyer’s skills in arguing their case and relating to the jury. They must also choose the right expert witnesses to provide compelling testimony.

An accident reconstructionist will be required to make a presentation to the jury showing the timeline of events. This presentation will likely feature visual aids, including pictures and videos. But it is not enough to simply roll a video.

The expert must be able to talk with authority about what the presentation shows and why it is important to the case. They must also be comfortable under cross-examination questioning from the defense team.

When is Expert Testimony Allowed in Court?

For a court to admit expert testimony and consider it relevant and non-speculative, our chosen specialist must provide relevant credentials that allow them to speak with authority on the subject. They must also identify the materials, research, parameters, and studies used to reach their conclusion.

It is accepted that no simulation is guaranteed to be 100% accurate. However, it is based on facts and data and therefore adds considerable weight to a case.

The Role of Defense Experts

When the facts of a case are disputed and it ends up at trial, the defense’s legal team may employ its own accident reconstructionist to produce an alternative version of events. This is normal.

In some cases, the defense’s expert may get creative in trying to disprove the plaintiff’s version of events. They are just doing their job, but that does not mean that we have to accept their version of events.

It is up to your attorney to point out any flaws in the defense expert’s qualifications, logic, process, or track record.

For example, our team will challenge them if they make mistakes or faulty assumptions to reach their conclusions. They should also be challenged if their qualifications lack relevance to the case at hand or if their past testimonies have featured in failed cases or overturned decisions.

Case Study: Solis v. Southern California Rapid Transit District (1980)

A bus turning left struck a woman who was crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing with a walk sign, as confirmed by eyewitnesses. The woman sustained injuries and filed a lawsuit against Southern California RTD, which ran the bus service.

However, an accident reconstruction expert for the defense claimed that the woman was struck outside the crosswalk, limiting liability.

The reconstruction expert calculated the point of contact between the bus and the pedestrian based on photographs of the scene and victim, as well as speed and friction tests. This was a key factor in the jury delivering a verdict for the defense.

But the decision was reversed on appeal. During the appeal, the plaintiff’s lawyers poked significant holes in the accident reconstruction work.

  • The defense reconstructionist was found to have made faulty assumptions over the resting point of the plaintiff’s body and the bus.
  • Speed testing was done in different weather conditions to the accident date (wet vs. dry).
  • The expert could not replicate the condition of the bus tires in testing.
  • Some figures, such as speed and friction, were assumed.

It is important that your lawyers do not cut any corners, even when liability seems clear. At Bisnar Chase, we put in the work to ensure that we can hold experts accountable for any creative license used in an accident reconstruction. We are fully prepared to counter the defense’s arguments and present an accurate picture of events to the jury.

Will an Accident Reconstruction Expert Be a Part of My Case?

Not all cases require the services of an accident reconstruction professional. But if your case involves unclear or disputed liability, they can be hugely helpful.

At Bisnar Chase, we always do what is best for your case, even if that means paying additional experts. We have decades of experience handling personal injury cases and trials and know when a specialist is needed to round out your case. Trust us to assemble comprehensive evidence, including accident reconstructions when necessary.

Of course, every case is different. Speak to your legal team to learn more about the case-building phase before your personal injury trial.

Superior Representation in Personal Injury Cases

California No Win No Fee Personal Injury Attorneys

Bisnar Chase is a top-rated personal injury law firm with more than four decades of experience. We have a 99% success rate, including an outstanding track record at trial, with more than $850 million won for our clients.

Contact our team for a free consultation with no obligations. We take pride in securing maximum compensation for our clients. Damages can be awarded for factors including:

  • Medical expenses.
  • Lost wages.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Property damage.
  • Compromised quality of life.
  • Wrongful death.

Our firm is based in Orange County, but has offices in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego. We handle cases all across California. Call (800) 561-4887, send us an email, or contact us through our website live chat to speak with an expert about your case. We look forward to hearing from you.