What Is an Accident Reconstruction Specialist, and What Do They Do?

Many personal injury incidents and motor vehicle collisions are straightforward. For example, a distracted driver had their eyes off the road and rear-ended someone. A drunk driver ran a red light and caused an intersection crash. 

However, some accidents involve more complex issues, whether multiple drivers were involved, causation is unknown, or liability is in question. In these situations, an accident reconstruction specialist can be vital. They can fill in the missing pieces and prove certain aspects of a personal injury claim. 

What Is an Accident Reconstructionist? 

As the name suggests, an accident reconstructionist can recreate an accident scene to answer questions that may arise during a personal injury case. 

Accident reconstructionist specialists are most often used in motor vehicle accident cases, such as those involving: 

However, their testimony can also be useful in product liability matters, slip and fall accidents, construction accidents, and much more.

Accident reconstruction experts apply different principles – including physics and mathematics – to investigate collisions and incidents leading to personal injuries. They evaluate physical evidence from the accident scene and perform forensic analysis to shed light on how the accident occurred and who caused it.

Expert Qualifications of an Accident Reconstructionist

Accident reconstruction specialists may be engineers, physicists, law enforcement professionals, forensic investigators, commercial trucking experts, and other qualified experts. 

In California, someone can be qualified as an expert if they have specialized knowledge, experience, skill, education, or training in a specific area. Many accident reconstruction professionals have advanced education, hands-on experience, and substantial peer-reviewed research. 

They are typically well-equipped to investigate accidents using physics, engineering, and mathematics principles. They also use 3D animation, drone mapping, laser scanning, crash data retrieval, computer simulations, and other analytical techniques when conducting their investigation.

How Can an Accident Reconstruction Specialist Help in a Personal Injury Case? 

After a motor vehicle accident, the drivers involved may have different versions of what happened. Alternatively, the drivers may have forgotten crucial details, and layperson testimony is often unreliable. 

This can make it difficult to prove (or disprove) a case, which is where a reconstructionist can assist. An accident reconstruction specialist can provide an objective account of what happened by using science to review the facts and evidence. 

An accident reconstruction specialist may review the following when they’re investigating a case:

  • Skid marks 
  • Photographs and video footage of the accident scene
  • Police reports
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Photos and videos of the property damage involved
  • Photos and medical records regarding the injuries sustained
  • Black box/event data recorder information
  • Street surfaces
  • Weather conditions at the time of the accident
  • Vehicle inspections
  • Vehicle maintenance logs

Using this evidence, they can formulate opinions as to: 

  • The speed of the vehicles involved at the moment of impact
  • The point of impact
  • Collision and steering angles
  • Driver visibility
  • Whether the accident could’ve been avoided
  • Who caused the accident
  • How the accident happened
  • Whether a defective product contributed to the accident

A consulting accident reconstructionist’s opinions can be used to prove certain elements of a car accident case. Alternatively, they may provide the basis for expert witness testimony at trial if the case progresses to that stage. 

Reconstructionists often paint a clear picture for the jury. They explain the factors leading up to an accident, allowing jurors to make informed decisions. 

An Experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer Has Access To Leading Accident Reconstruction Specialists

If your personal injury claim involves complex issues, it’s best to consult an experienced lawyer to see how they can help. Skilled personal injury attorneys have built relationships with qualified experts, including accident reconstructionists, who can help prove negligence and liability.