Truck Accident Reconstruction, the Essentials - Q&A
What is accident reconstruction and why is it so important?
Accident reconstruction is essential on many truck crash cases. The dynamics for how the crash occurred is often difficult to understand. However, if enough information is captured from the scene of the truck accident using standard engineering methods and sophisticated accident reconstruction software and laser mapping systems, it is often possible to completely reconstruct what occurred, sometimes in 3-D animation.
If you or a loved one has been in a truck accident, it’s important to contact a law firm sooner vs. later simply because the gathering of evidence is so important. It is not recommended that you let your insurance company gather the burden of proof. Insurance companies don’t care about you; they just care about their bottom line.
How is the truck accident reconstruction software used?
The coordinates have become extremely accurate because of the use of laser surveying equipment. Programs are so sophisticated that 2-D accident reconstructions are a thing of the past. Computer software can now change the orientation in three dimensions to all different angles and elevations of view.
Can you cite an example?
The legal team headed by Jim Ronca, Esquire recently had a case where a truck was rounding a curve. In order to stay in its lane, it seemed like it was almost impossible for the truck to have rounded the curve without having the trailer invade the other lane. This particular curve had a 55-foot length restriction on it and the truck involved was 70-foot long. Both the truck driver and the following truck driver testified that the truck never went into the opposite lane of travel.
However, from the position of the truck after the collision, and then by reconstruction, backing the truck up a certain distance, our legal team demonstrated that it was impossible for the truck to have ended up in its final position without having been in the opposite lane of travel at the time of the collision.
What are some of the other resources used in truck accident reconstruction?
Photogrammetry is used in many different fields including topographic mapping, engineering, police traffic, and large truck crashes. Photogrammetry is a measurement technology of which the coordinates of various points on an object are determined by measurements made from the photographic images. These may be points on a vehicle to determine a crash damage profile or points on the ground at a crash scene such as tire marks, gouges, and scuffs
A typical truck crash case involves a number of photos taken of the crash scene by the police. The police camera is not metric or calibrated with known settings, for photogrammetric analysis. The photogrammetrist will visit the site and by using a metric camera will obtain calibrated photos. These calibrated photos will include objects that can be seen in the police photos and are still on site, such as utility poles, roadway markings, traffic signs, and fence posts. These objects will be used to determine known coordinates across all the available photographs. Alternatively, these points can be coordinated using any accurate survey method, such as total station. Very often, for traffic crash scenes, calibrated low level aerial photographs will be obtained instead of a survey of the site.
What does a truck accident reconstructionist do?
A truck accident reconstructionist is usually a practical engineer who can explain highly technical terminology and concepts in simple terms. The mission of a reconstructionist is to provide an accurate assessment of collisions and facts and to enable the jury to make informed decisions.
Reconstructing an accident for a jury takes hundreds of hours of preparation and years of training. Some things that require reconstruction are:
Create 3-D models of virtually any automobile or truck, including its geometry, tires, suspension, brakes, drive train, and steering.
Create a 3-D model of an accident scene and drive vehicles on the surface of the model.
Simulate a crash sequence involving any number of vehicles.
Simulate vehicle rollovers.
Simulate the effects of a tire blowout.
Simulate the response of vehicle occupants during a crash or rollover.
Simulate vehicle v. pedestrian accidents.
Record simulations on videotape for presentation during trial, deposition, settlement conferences.