What Role Does Accident Reconstruction Play in Personal Injury Cases in Queens?

What Role Does Accident Reconstruction Play in Personal Injury Cases in Queens?

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Understanding How Accident Reconstructions Can Help Your Case

Motor vehicle accidents happen in a matter of seconds, and it’s common for victims to have a limited understanding — or be completely unaware — of how the accident happened. While eyewitness testimony can be helpful, accident reconstruction has become an increasingly vital tool in helping police investigators and insurance companies determine how an accident happened and who was at fault. An experienced attorney can help you understand the role accident reconstruction can play in personal injury cases and what it might mean for your case.

What Is Accident Reconstruction?

Accident reconstruction is the process of determining what happened before, during, and after a motor vehicle collision. Reconstruction experts go out to the accident scene and use special tools and technology to help them virtually reconstruct the accident to determine who was at fault and what factors contributed.

Accident reconstructions aren’t automatically performed in all cases. They are more likely to be done immediately after a crash if it involved serious or life-threatening injuries or someone died. However, it is possible to request an accident reconstruction. There are private firms that offer this service that an attorney can contact on your behalf as well as the Collision Reconstruction Unit for the New York State Police. Insurance companies commonly use accident reconstructions to determine who is responsible for an accident if the damages exceed the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage limits and it is likely to become a civil personal injury case.

How Accident Reconstruction Works

Accident reconstruction teams evaluate the accident scene from all angles, using specialized technology to determine what happened. What tools they use depends on the type and severity of the accident. Accident reconstruction starts at the actual scene of the crash. The team will take pictures, measure things such as the length of skid marks, and collect and record any evidence at the accident scene that can help them determine the events. Data from the car’s black box, which is an event data recorder that is made to survive even the most serious crashes, is one of the most important things accident reconstruction experts use.

Once the evidence from the scene has been obtained and recorded, much of the accident reconstruction process happens back in an office with the aid of computers, math programs, and specialized software. The data is imported into the programs, and the computer uses complex logarithms and other equations to determine things like trajectory, velocity, and statistical likelihood of specific outcomes. Using this data, the team can construct a 3D animation of the accident, which can be used to help your case.

Accident Reconstruction as Evidence for a Personal Injury Case

New York is a no-fault state when it comes to motor vehicle accidents, which means that you can’t sue the other party unless your damages exceed the limit on your PIP coverage. It’s also a comparative negligence state, which means that the amount of any damages you are awarded in a personal injury case can be reduced based on whether you were partially at fault and by how much.

Accident reconstruction can play a valuable role in this process because it is able to accurately reconstruct the sequence of events. This makes it easier to determine who was at fault and whether there were multiple factors involved. For example, a rear-end collision is usually the fault of the driver of the car behind. However, if an accident reconstruction shows that you were following at a proper speed and distance but the car in front didn’t have functional brake lights, this can change the determination of who is at fault.

The people who perform the accident reconstruction are able to testify and present their findings in a personal injury case as expert witnesses. If they have the proper education and credentials and are able to present the reconstruction articulately, it can have a significant impact on the jury’s decision.

Types of Personal Injury Cases That May Benefit From Accident Reconstruction

Accident reconstruction services can help in many situations, but they are generally most beneficial if the case involves complex contributing factors, serious injury or death, or multiple vehicles. Some types of personal injury cases that accident reconstruction can help clarify include:

  • Rear-end collisions where there are questions about whether the lead car’s brake lights were functional
  • Side-impact collisions
  • Head-on collisions
  • Multi-vehicle accidents where there are questions about the specific sequence of events
  • Rollover accidents
  • Accidents that happen at intersections
  • Accidents involving bicycles or pedestrians
  • Bus and tractor-trailer accidents

Accident reconstruction is a significant investment of time and resources, but it could pay off in your case if it sways the jury or leads to a larger settlement offer. Talk to an experienced attorney about whether accident reconstruction may be something to consider for your situation and the pros and cons.

Should Accident Reconstruction Play a Role in Your Case?

Whether accident reconstruction could be helpful in your case depends on the type of accident. It is not always worth the time and expense if the case is clear-cut and there aren’t questions about what happened or who might have been at fault. But it can be a valuable resource to consider and has helped victims win cases in New York.

If you’ve been injured in an accident and you want to discuss your options with a personal injury attorney, contact The Law Offices of Elke E. Mirabella, PC, at 631-769-7999. Our team is standing by to take your call.

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