The Importance of Preserving the Evidence
A vehicle accident takes place in a moment of time. While you’re dealing with the treatment of your child’s injuries, your attorney should begin working immediately toward preserving and reconstructing evidence that tells the story of what happened, why it happened, and who is at fault. This is where car accident forensics come into play.
The National Institute of Justice defines forensic science as “the application of sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, computer science and engineering to matters of law.” In the case of vehicle accidents, forensic experts examine the evidence to determine how the accident occurred and who/what caused it—and by extension, who is legally responsible for the damage and injuries resulting from the accident. Unfortunately, time is not on our side in these matters, because evidence naturally begins to fade almost as soon as the accident occurs.
This is why we urge accident victims to take pictures and document as much evidence from the scene as possible. It’s also why any good personal injury attorney will make forensics a top priority in the days following the crash.
In forming the foundation for your case, your attorney will begin investigating the facts and evidence surrounding your case—drawing from any documentation you’ve collected as well as police reports and eyewitness testimony to piece together what happened. He may also hire a forensic investigator to examine the accident scene and the damaged vehicles.
Forensic investigators can effectively reconstruct the vehicle accident based on the body of evidence left from the crash. They may utilize and analyze any/all of the following:
- Physical evidence at the crash site (e.g., skid marks, damaged poles, etc.)
- Contributing factors (e.g., weather, road conditions and traffic patterns at the time of the crash)
- The debris field—position of debris left in the area by the damaged vehicles, which should have been documented and marked in the police report
- The damaged vehicles themselves
- Documentation of the victims’ injuries
The investigators will use all this data to create documentation and graphics—even occasionally 3-d models—to depict the probable speed, trajectory and position of all vehicles involved in the crash, as well as the effects of impact.
Handling Your Wrecked Car
Unless your vehicle has been totaled and is beyond repair, you naturally want to get repairs done as quickly as possible. However, in the context of forensics, your attorney may recommend keeping the vehicle and all pieces of debris in their current condition until the forensic investigators have analyzed and documented them. (We’ll discuss best practices for getting your vehicle repaired and dealing with insurance in a later post.)
At Greathouse Trial Law, we understand how important it is to preserve the physical evidence of your vehicle crash, so you can receive the full benefit of compensation, including the costs of helping an injured child recover. For a free evaluation, call us at (888) 353-1458.