Auto Accident Forensics: What Investigators Do (and What You Need to Know to Protect Your Claim)
Most car accidents happen in the blink of an eye. In the chaos, the average driver is unlikely to know exactly what happened.
When adrenaline kicks in, our instinct after an accident is to see if everyone in the vehicle is okay–we’re not necessarily thinking about who is responsible or how it will affect our insurance claim.
For this reason, many personal injury attorneys rely on auto accident forensics to help piece together the accident. Knowing what these investigators do can help you protect your claim.
What Is an Auto Accident Investigator?
In auto accident forensics, the investigator reconstructs the accident scene, which helps a jury decide who was at fault for a car accident. Auto accident reconstruction is highly scientific and involves investigative measures including:
- Analyzing an accident’s physics. Auto collisions lead to shockingly complicated exchanges of momentum and kinetic energy—enough to test the mathematical mettle of experienced physicists. Investigators use this complex math—often assisted by computer modeling—to come up with likely crash scenarios by looking at variables such as drag force, total momentum, and the total mass of the cars involved.
- Time and distance calculations. Investigators use time and distance data to determine if drivers applied the brakes and when. This helps establish driver reaction time and may indicate distracted driving.
- Assessing physical evidence. Looking at skid marks and damage to vehicles, investigators determine how fast the vehicles were traveling, who swerved or who applied the brakes.
- Analyzing photographic evidence. An auto accident investigator may testify about his or her best guess of how an accident occurred based on video footage or real-time photos of what happened.
- Producing specific calculations and measures. Once an auto accident investigator has assessed the data, he or she produces calculations regarding speed, distance, reaction time, and force of the collision. These factors can be crucial for determining fault.
How Can a Forensic Investigator Help My Accident Claim?
Depending on how it’s collected and calculated, forensic evidence can serve as compelling evidence about what happened and why.
While eyewitness accounts can be unreliable, data doesn’t lie. This is one of the main reason personal injury attorneys order accident reconstructions. We want the truth.
Forensic accounts provide an objective view of what most likely occurred. Drivers only know their own account. Police officers and first responders are more focused on making sure everyone is safe and clearing the roadway than they are conducting a thorough investigation.
With objective data supporting your narrative of how the accident proceeded, a jury might be more likely to rule in your favor.
What Can I Do to Help Investigators Collect What They Need?
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, the best thing you can do is focus on your health and healing. To collect evidence to support your point of view and lay the groundwork for a successful case, observe these practices:
- Take photos of the scene immediately after the accident, if you can. This documentation could assist the investigator. The more direct data—particularly photographic and video evidence—the better.
- Never admit fault. It’s easy to say, “I’m sorry,” out of habit, but remember that someone may take this as an admission of guilt.
- Don’t sign any documents, unless they come from the police officer on the scene, your insurance agent, or your personal injury attorney.
- Don’t talk about the case on social media or even with your friends. Remember, anything can be used against you.
Observe these tips, and seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible following your accident. Our team is standing by to provide a confidential strategic consultation: get in touch today. Call our office (504-434-7700), fill out the form above, or leave a comment below so that our office can set up a time for you to speak to someone about your case.
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