One late afternoon returning from work, you see the light up ahead just turn green and enter the intersection. While looking straight ahead, your attention is directed for just an instant to your right and you notice a flash or blur just before losing consciousness. When you awake, you are in a hospital room, your face badly bruised and your limbs in traction. You have little or no memory of the accident.
Similarly, your son is riding in a bike lane on an urban street and comes up to an intersection before a car traveling behind or ahead of your son suddenly turns to the right and collides with him, causing serious injuries. Again, your son only recalls riding his bike in the bike lane before regaining consciousness in a hospital room.
In both of these scenarios, the other party claims that you or your son was solely at fault. Because neither of you have no memory of what transpired in the seconds before the accident, how do you prove liability so that you can be compensated for your injuries?
When an Accident Reconstruction Investigation is Needed
In any case where liability or proof of fault is at issue, a thorough and professional car accident investigation is essential. You will need the services of a highly experienced car accident lawyer to handle your claim at the earliest stage; the lawyer may retain the services of a professional accident reconstructionist, may of whom are former State Police investigators. Evidence in any accident can be quickly lost and witness’ memories can fade or be influenced. Further, an injured party can give a statement to an insurance adjuster or defense investigator that can seriously jeopardize that person’s opportunity to collect the most compensation available for the injury, if at all.
A car accident investigation is also necessary to prove causation, an element in a personal injury claim where you must prove that the accident caused the injuries you are alleging. For example, if you sustained a knee injury, the defense attorney or insurance adjuster may claim that the mechanics of the accident could not have produced that particular injury and/or your knee injury either preexisted the accident or was caused by some other accident or incident.
What an Investigation Entails
Evidence that can prove liability can be found from a number of sources. Eyewitness testimony can be determinative but is also notoriously unreliable. Two or more people can observe the same accident but recount different facts such as the make or type of vehicle, the speeds, directions or color of the traffic signals. Testimony is easily influenced by past experience, bias, angle of observation, sight barriers, sun, weather and other conditions. All of these factors can be addressed by an experienced investigator who may be interviewing a witness adverse to your version of events.
The investigator can also visit residences or businesses to see if anyone who may have seen the accident at any time may be available. Police who are on the scene of an accident may not go to this extent when conducting their own investigation.
In many intersection accidents, videos are available from either the traffic light structure or from adjoining businesses. These videos generally are not preserved for long so time is of the essence in canvassing the neighborhood businesses to see if such videos exist.
Accident reconstruction experts who have engineering and physics backgrounds and experience are often used in serious car accidents where liability is questioned.
For example, an expert can be instrumental in examining the following type of evidence:
- Skidmarks left by an involved vehicle that can indicate the car’s speed when the motorist applied the brakes
- Damage to the vehicles can often tell an expert the angle of impact, amount of force and other indications that can point fault at a particular motorist
- If a brake or steering system malfunctioned, then responsibility may be directed toward the vehicle manufacturer or service provider whose poor maintenance contributed to the accident
- The failure of a child car seat to protect a child or a malfunctioning air bag are other factors that can lead to serious injuries that might otherwise have been avoided
- Defective road design–the state or county is generally responsible for road design as well as maintenance that can include the failure to provide barriers, use of substandard or outdated materials, inadequate or lack of signage, severe road damage and other issues that may not be so readily apparent in a car accident
Damages in Car Accident Claims
Car accident injuries may include the following:
- Medical expenses, past and future if reasonably related and likely
- Past loss of earnings and future loss
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional trauma such as PTSD
- Permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Spousal claim for loss of consortium
Medical and other expert testimony is often necessary to prove that injuries were caused by the car accident or at least exacerbated if they were preexisting. Lost earning capacity, the existence of and effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, permanency of an injury and its effect on your life may also require testimony from particular specialists and experts.
Retain Car Accident Lawyer Neil Burns
When a serious car accident injury affects you or your family, you will need the services of a car accident lawyer who has the experience and knowledge to examine every aspect of your claim. He has retained accident reconstruction experts to investigate serious injury cases. Many car accident claims involve issues of insurance coverage, proof of liability and causation and damages. If experts are needed to investigate your claim, you will want seasoned and credible experts with the credentials to overcome the objections and scrutiny of an insurance defense attorney.
Also, negotiating a reasonable settlement is an art in itself. All of these issues are have been handled by Boston car accident lawyer Neil Burns. With over 30 years of personal injury and car accident claims experience, Neil Burns has obtained millions of dollars in compensation for his well-satisfied clients over the years. Call his office today for a free assessment of your car accident injury claim: 617-227-7423.