When people are hurt or killed in car accidents or truck crashes it may be necessary to hire a car accident expert witness to analyze the cause of the crash. Oftentimes, when a crash causes death or serious injury, an expert has to be retained immediately to preserve evidence and document the crash scene.
Experts can offer insight into a variety of factors, including:
- Accident reconstruction
- Human factors analysis
- Truck safety
- Road safety
- Mechanical engineering
- Cause of injury
- Transportation engineering
- Vehicle safety
What Is Expert Testimony and Why Is It Necessary?
If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a truck accident or car accident, expert testimony may be necessary to prove certain elements of your case. Unlike lay witnesses, who are not allowed to offer an opinion at trial, people who are accepted as experts in a court case are allowed to express their opinion on a fact at issue.
In court, an expert witness is someone who has knowledge in a particular field that is beyond that of a layperson. Because of this specialized training or knowledge, the expert is allowed to express an opinion that a non-expert witness is not permitted to.
To qualify as an expert, the witness must establish his credentials and experience. An expert witness may point to the number of years they have practiced in their respective field, work experience related to the issue on which they are testifying, published works, certifications, licensing, training, education, awards, and peer recognition. In some cases, the opposing party will stipulate (agree) that the person is qualified as an expert witness. In others, the opposing party will challenge an expert witness’s qualifications.
When expressing an opinion in a case, the information the expert relied upon in coming to his conclusion must be disclosed to the other party. The other lawyers can use this information to attempt to discredit the expert witness, expose limitations in the expert witness’s qualifications or experience, or show lack of preparation or unreliability of the sources, texts, or methods that the expert used or relied upon in forming his opinions.
Analyzing the Cause of a Crash
In truck accident cases where injuries are almost catastrophic, you can be sure that the trucking companies and their lawyers and insurance adjusters will dispatch a forensic accident investigation and reconstruction expert within hours of learning of the crash.
A car crash specialist may be called upon as an expert to analyze the cause of an accident. In truck accident cases where injuries are almost catastrophic, you can be sure that the trucking companies and their lawyers and insurance adjusters will dispatch a forensic accident investigation and reconstruction expert within hours of learning of the crash.
In the same way, a good truck accident injury lawyer will engage the services of an accident reconstruction expert to analyze the factors that caused the crash and any injuries. Depending on the specifics of your case, this may include problems with seat belts, brakes, airbags, or other safety features. Or perhaps the vehicle was not properly maintained, the driver was texting or intoxicated, or there were problems with the design of the road or the placement of traffic signals or road signs.
What Will an Accident Expert Witness Analyze?
Expert car accident witnesses rely on a number of pieces of evidence to reach conclusions about the cause of an accident. The automobile accident reconstruction expert may analyze:
- The vehicles involved in the crash
- Weather conditions
- Witness statements
- The scene of the crash
- Photographs of the scene in the moments after the accident
- Debris distribution
- The area of impact
- Damage to the vehicles
- The vehicle interiors
- Whether the vehicles were moved before being documented
- Vehicle speeds
- Information from police officers and other emergency personnel who responded
- Whether there were recalls on any of the vehicles involved in the crash
- Black box data
- Driver logs
- The occupants’ clothing
- Photographs and medical information regarding injuries to the drivers and passengers
- Road measurements
- Tire marks
- Evidence of intoxication
- GPS data
What Does an Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness Do?
An accident reconstruction expert will analyze the relevant information to arrive at a conclusion regarding the cause of the crash. This, in turn, can be used to prove who was at fault for the crash and any injuries that resulted.
The car crash specialist will review the available information and perform his or her own independent investigation. The automobile accident reconstruction expert will then write a report detailing his finding. Ultimately this information is shared with the other lawyers, who will often want an opportunity to ask the car accident expert witness questions in a deposition. Ultimately, the car accident expert witness will testify at trial to educate the jury about the cause of the crash.
The defendant’s lawyer will have a chance to discredit the plaintiff’s auto accident reconstruction expert and, in many cases, the defendant will have their own accident reconstruction expert who will offer a different version of how the crash occurred.
Robenalt Law — Seeking Justice for People Injured in Car and Truck Accidents in Ohio
At Robenalt Law, we frequently work with accident reconstruction expert witnesses as we seek justice for our injured clients.
If you were hurt in a truck accident or car crash, you need a skilled and experienced accident attorney on your side who will fight for the compensation you deserve.
We invite you to meet our team, learn why clients choose us, and to contact Robenalt Law today.
Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing trucking companies at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 25 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured to secure compensation for trucking accidents.