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The importance of crash reconstruction after car accidents

The effects of a car crash can leave victims with catastrophic injuries that require extensive medical treatments. Those medical costs often easily spiral into six-figure costs. With the stakes set so high, it's easy to see how important it is to prove that the driver who caused the accident was indeed negligent in his or her operation of a motor vehicle at the time of the accident.

Often, the best way for an injured plaintiff to demonstrate negligence by the defendant is through accident reconstruction. Re-creating the scene piece by piece for the judge and jury to see can be particularly useful in cases attempting to reveal negligence in drunk, reckless or distracted drivers.

A 2003 study compiled on behalf of local prosecutors throughout the country found that at least 40 percent of all fatal crash reports that prosecutors handled involved impaired drivers. That study titled, "Crash Reconstruction Basics for Prosecutors" identified the following issues as the more important components of crash reconstruction:

-- Electronic data recorders or "black boxes" are the components within many modern cars that record the vehicle's onboard digital data. Many times the EDRs will contain information regarding vehicle speed, the use of brakes and even the information regarding the deployment of airbags.

-- The identities of first responders to the crash scene. Obviously, the police are crucial to any crash scene investigation, but sometimes emergency medical technicians can also provide information that may reveal driver impairment.

-- A scale drawing of the accident is fundamental to any accident reconstruction. This detailed analysis of each vehicle, direction of travel, skid marks, drag marks and more are often central to establishing the facts of the case.

-- A detailed search of vehicle recall information is important for thorough accident reconstruction. For example, a defendant may offer evidence that a mechanical equipment failure caused the accident rather than his or her own negligence. A history of manufactures recalls on all involved vehicles is therefore critical to eliminate or minimize such arguments.

If you are an Illinois resident who has been injured in a preventable car accident, then you should know that a thorough accident reconstruction can be extremely useful when pursuing a civil claim for compensation. Your attorney should be able to instruct you as to how accident reconstructions can benefit you in your civil lawsuit against the driver responsible for your injuries.

Source: American Prosecutors Research Institute, "Crash Reconstruction Basics for Prosecutors" Oct. 24, 2014

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