How Are Forensics Used in Car Accident Cases?

Posted in Car Accidents on August 30, 2018.

Car crashes can cause extensive damages to passengers and vehicles. Even the most minor rear-end accidents can lead to surprisingly serious damage, depending on the conditions of the road. When an accident leads to a property damage or personal injury claim, though, it can be difficult to receive your rightful compensation from the responsible party.

Determining liability means understanding who was at fault for an accident. While the involved parties will each have their versions of the story, investigations don’t stop there. A thorough examination of the scene of the accident is essential to successfully understanding the circumstances of an accident – and thus determining fault for awarding compensation. Car accident forensics is a part of that.

What Is Car Accident Forensics?

Car accident forensics refers to the variety of techniques a police officer or independent investigator will use when attempting to determine the events of a car accident. This can involve studying the scene of the accident and the involved vehicles, as well as other calculations to get the best picture of events. Several different aspects play a role in such investigations:

  • Vehicle Damage. The position of any dents and scratches on involved vehicles can help determine where impacts occurred, as well as the directions the vehicles were traveling at the time of contact.
  • Kinetic Energy vs. Momentum. Kinetic energy dictates motion, and it may convert into other forms of energy at the time of impact. Investigators determine the momentum of each vehicle based on their size and distance traveled before impact to help identify the type of crash.
  • Crash Site. Road conditions, such as potholes or other evidence of disrepair and the weather conditions can also play a part in causing a crash.
  • Time and Distance. Both time and distance play a role in understanding speed. They can help determine the driver’s reaction time before the accident, which can then contribute to understanding if any distractions or impairments may have been involved.
  • Skid Marks. Tire marks on the roadway serve as evidence to the path, braking patterns, and speed of involved vehicles, which can all contribute to understanding fault.
  • As not all investigators can make it to the scene of the accident, photo and video evidence become a way to analyze vehicle damage and positioning.
  • The position and severity of injuries suffered by drivers and passengers can also help determine where, and how hard the vehicles impacted each other.
  • Vehicle Manufacturer Specs. Manufacturing specifications can combine with damage assessments to determine the minimum force of the collision, the potential that there were faulty or malfunctioning vehicle parts, and more critical details.
  • After cars have been removed from the scene of the accident, the position of other debris on the road can also help understand where the vehicles were at the time of the crash.
  • Speed vs. Force. Further collections of evidence can allow investigators to determine the force of the impact and the speed of each vehicle.

With this information, professional investigators can determine the probable speed, positions, and angles of vehicles at different points in the accident. While these calculations lead to theoretical ideas of what happened in the accident, they are generally reliable for creating a likely scenario. The more data the investigator has, the more accurate their reconstruction of the accident will be.

The accuracy of an investigation contributes to the important first step toward receiving rightful compensation after a car accident. While the police will investigate, it’s likely a driver’s insurance company will also conduct their own investigation as well. Taking the appropriate steps after an accident and having a skilled attorney on your side can help you have the necessary evidence to support your claim.