What do you do when you have been seriously injured in a car crash and you lost consciousness for a few minutes? Or you do not remember what happened, exactly? Or another party involved in the accident tells a contradictory story? If the crash was fiery, or if the vehicles needed to be moved quickly to clear the path for oncoming traffic, sometimes it can be difficult for those who were not at the scene to piece together exactly what happened to cause the crash, during the crash and immediately following.
Human memory is notoriously unreliable, and going through something as traumatic as a car accident can cause your mind and memory to be unclear. This is why your Miami car accident attorney from the Yeboah Law Group works with accident reconstruction experts along with other aspects of the investigation to determine what happened in a car accident when it is impossible to rely on eyewitness accounts.
Accident reconstruction experts understand motor vehicle crashes from a scientific point of view. They analyze lots of technical data using the scientific principles of Newtonian physics, acceleration, kinetic energy, and they also use computer generated models to determine what occurred and who or what caused the crash to occur. Experts who are reconstructing a crash might consider things such as:
- The speed and direction of travel of the vehicles involved before during and after the collision
- Extent of the damage to each vehicle involved
- Angle of impact
- Length of skid marks on the pavement
What is the role of EDRs (event data recorders) in crash reconstruction?
Manufacturers have been including EDR devices, also called “black boxes,” in cars since the mid-90s, but it was not until 2014 that the NHTSA required all passenger vehicles to be equipped with event data recorders. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also required specific data that each device should collect including:
- The forward and lateral crash force.
- The crash event duration.
- Indicated vehicle speed.
- Accelerator position.
- Engine rpm.
- Brake application and antilock brake activation.
- Steering wheel angle.
- Stability control engagement.
- Vehicle roll angle, in case of a rollover.
- Number of times the vehicle has been started.
- Driver and front-passenger safety belt engagement, and pretensioner or force limiter engagement.
- Air bag deployment, speed, and faults for all air bags.
- Front seat positions.
- Occupant size.
- Number of crashes (one or more impacts during the final crash event)
An NHTSA study about EDRs potential to increase driver safety and modify driving behavior reported the following: “The results of the engineering analysis show that EDR data can objectively report real-world crash data and therefore be a powerful investigative and research tool, by providing very useful information to crash reconstruction experts and vehicle safety researchers. Due to significant limitations however, EDR data should always be used in conjunction with other data sources.”
Once the crash reconstruction expert has completed their analysis, they prepare their reports. If the case goes to trial, the analyst is usually available to do depositions and to testify in court. Crash reconstruction experts are not infallible, and they are not always able to arrive at the precise cause of a crash, but they do their best with the information available to contribute to determining the cause of the crash.
At Yeboah Law Group, our Fort Lauderdale car crash lawyers understand the importance of accident reconstruction after a serious accident where it might not be immediately apparent what happened. If you have sustained a serious injury or lost a loved one in a South Florida car crash, please phone us at (800) TELL-SAM or fill out our contact form to arrange an appointment. We take accident cases on a contingency fee basis.