ROLE OF AUTO ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION EXPERTS
Sept. 3, 2017
Automobile accidents can be very messy. In order to determine what led to an accident, an automobile accident reconstruction expert can be employed. The expert will try to determine the most probable reason for the accident. Automobile accident reconstruction experts use information from the accident scene, witnesses, the damaged vehicles, and other sources to make conclusions about how the accident happened and, sometimes, why it happened. The expert can be called to testify at a trial on his or her conclusions in an effort to help the jury.
Before an automobile accident reconstruction expert can testify in court, his or her qualifications must be presented. The expert must have proper knowledge, skill, experience, training, and education to give an opinion as an expert. If a state trooper is to testify as an accident reconstruction expert, the opinion can be excluded if the trooper's qualifications do not meet the standards necessary to be an expert in court. In litigation, qualified accident reconstruction experts have been allowed to testify as to factual observations made during their investigation. A court will allow a reconstruction expert to present the results of an experiment, if the experiment was carried out under circumstances that were substantially similar to those existing at the time of the accident and the experiment helps to reveal information about the accident.
A reconstruction expert's training, experience and education places him or her in one of three levels. A level one expert is able to use most basic formulae to recreate an accident. A level three expert can use all formulae available to recreate an uncommon accident. All experts need to follow an organized method of analysis and have enough experience to draw some conclusions after looking at some of the evidence. Finally, the expert must be able to create diagrams, charts, and tables to make his or her conclusions fully understandable to a jury.
As noted, an automobile accident reconstruction expert has many sources of data to use in recreating an accident. The expert may work backwards. First, the expert will use the accident scene, including photographs, skid marks, and measured diagrams, to determine the results of the accident. From those results, the expert can start to draw some conclusions. The expert must consider whether all results of the accident are accounted for and fit into his or her conclusions. To check his or her work, the expert can take different approaches to each of the same conclusions to see if the expert reaches the same conclusions. Along the way, the expert gathers and reviews other information, sorting it for relevancy and fitting it into his or her conclusions. The art and science of accident reconstruction is a time-consuming and necessary exercise to determine what happened when cars collide.