Car Crash Forensics

Car crashes are, unfortunately, the most common way that people are injured in America. From fender benders to major accidents, people are hurt every day. Also, an even sadder fact is that it is very difficult to get the compensation you deserve after you have been injured in a car crash. Insurance companies often put up a big fight before they will pay you the compensation to which you are entitled.

There are many ways an insurance company can dispute your claim, but the most popular one is the fault of the accident and, therefore, where the fiscal responsibility lies. That is why a car crash forensic investigation, and often a car crash reconstruction, is a crucial part of the legal aftermath of a car accident.

A car crash forensic investigation is when a police officer or an independent investigator attempts to understand exactly what happened in a car crash, using a variety of techniques including inspection of the crash site and involved vehicles, as well as measurements and formulas to determine what happened. As the results of a forensic accident investigation directly affect your injury claim, it is important to understand the specific steps, and the reasoning behind those steps, in the forensic investigation of a car crash:

  • Vehicle Damage: The first thing a police officer or independent investigator will look at after an accident is a damage to the involved vehicles. The positions of dents and scratches will help determine the points of impact and probable trajectories of the vehicles.
  • Crash Site: An investigator will then inspect the crash site for any potential factors such as ice, water, or other road conditions that might have influenced the crash.
  • Skid Marks: The skid, or tire marks, in a crash are the main point in determining the paths, speeds, and braking patterns of the involved vehicles and, therefore, who might be at fault.
  • Injuries: Any and all injuries are analyzed for possible impact or trajectory data that will aid in any reconstructions.
  • Debris: Once cars are moved from the scene of an accident, the position of debris on the road may give a valuable indication of the position of vehicles in a crash.
  • Car Crash Reconstruction: An accident reconstruction by a professional investigator uses physics and math equations to determine the probable speeds, angles, and positions of the involved vehicles at different points during the accident.

Using data collected during an investigation such as:

  • directions of skid marks
  • pre-accident and post-accident directions of travel
  • lengths of skid marks
  • post-accident movement
  • friction values for each car
  • points of impact
  • impact angles
  • weight dimensions of each vehicle

The investigator is able to create a theoretical, yet probable, idea of what happened in an accident. Data collected by police officials and independent investigators during a forensic investigation is crucial for determining what happened in the car crash and assigning liability. The investigation is an important step towards you or your loved one receiving compensation after a car crash.