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What is car accident reconstruction?

Car accident reconstruction can be an important part of the process following a car accident. Victims and family members may be familiar with the term accident reconstruction and wonder what that means. When a car accident occurs, especially when it is serious and involves injuries or death, an accident reconstruction is oftentimes performed as part of the investigation of the accident.

Both police and independent investigators may investigate an accident and perform an accident reconstruction. Authorities investigating the accident will determine if any criminal activity, which may also be considered negligent conduct, led to the accident such as speeding, drunk driving or if a truck driver involved in a truck accident, for instance, may have violated service hour regulations and caused an accident.

In addition, independent investigators may investigate an accident and conduct an accident reconstruction on behalf of an insurance company or others to determine liability for the accident. Criminal activity can give rise civil liability and an individual responsible for negligently causing an accident may be financially liable to compensate victims for the harm they have suffered.

The accident reconstruction process typically begins with an accident investigation that includes inspecting the site of the accident. Information related to the point of impact, final resting positions, skid marks, scrub marks and gouge marks will be collected during the inspection of the accident site. The vehicles involved in the accident will also be inspected for damage and the mechanical components of the vehicles involved will also be inspected. Investigators may also evaluate the qualifications of the drivers involved and review logbooks or motor carrier compliance materials.

The accident reconstruction process will then determine the speeds of the vehicles involved in the crash. Principles of physics will be used to determine this information. Depending on the type of accident, different methods of reconstruction will be used employing different scientific techniques. There are several different types of accidents, including head-on, rear-end, right-angle or rollover. Investigators are also able to answer questions concerning some hypothetical situations using their data. The crash reconstruction process can help determine who is responsible for the damages victims have suffered, which can help victims seeking to recover damages they have suffered in a car accident.

Source: Crashforensics.com, "Motor Vehicle Crash Investigation and Reconstruction," Accessed June 13, 2016

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