Crash Analysis by Board Certified Forensic Engineers
Veritech’s accident reconstruction engineers are specifically trained and highly experienced in the science of reconstructing motor vehicle accidents. Our engineering experts understand that accidents are a fact of life and unfortunately happen with significant frequency. Some of these accidents involve motor vehicles while others involve industrial equipment and machinery. Veritech engineers have investigated and analyzed thousands of accidents from low-speed single vehicle accidents to multi-car pile ups on busy highways. We understand that each accident has unique circumstances so we utilize the latest accident reconstruction technology, such as information from GPS records, “black box” download data from a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder, video evidence, and sophisticated 3-dimensional computer simulation software to reach accurate and defendable conclusions.
Veritech understands our client’s need to know what happened in an accident and why. Our forensic experts are experienced at providing insightful, reliable forensic engineering consultation to ensure that our clients fully understand all of the events surrounding a crash. A complete understanding of the accident scenario allows our clients to make informed decisions regarding the direction of their case. In addition to explaining what happened in an accident, we can also assist in understanding what could have been done to mitigate the severity of the crash or prevent the accident entirely. Veritech Engineers pride themselves in taking the complex dynamics of an accident and presenting them in a clear and understandable manner to our clients, opposing counsel, and ultimately to a jury.
Our clients can rest assured knowing that our engineers will provide honest and reliable testimony and that our engineer’s accident reconstruction opinions will be based upon a thorough analysis of the available evidence and the application of well accepted scientific principles. Veritech’s forensic engineering experts have been qualified in state and federal courts around the country to provide expert witness testimony in numerous areas related to accident reconstruction, failure analysis and driver reaction.
What is Accident Reconstruction?
Accident reconstruction is generally understood to be the application of industry accepted scientific methodologies in order to determine the speeds and actions of the vehicles involved in a motor vehicle collision. Common questions that can be answered by an accident reconstructionist include: How fast were the vehicles going? and What could have been done to avoid the crash?
A qualified accident reconstruction expert has multi-disciplinary training and experience in areas such as mechanical engineering, physics, mathematics, vehicle dynamics, and manufacturing methods. Additional analysis tools and training includes the use of computer simulation software (such as PC Crash), Photogrammetry techniques, computer-aided drawing software (such as AutoCAD), and the extraction of crash data from a vehicle’s “black box”. (“Black box” is a generic term that refers to a vehicle’s EDR – Event Data Recorder, or ECM - Engine Control Module).
The activities commonly associated with the reconstruction of a motor vehicle accident begin with an inspection and documentation of the available evidence physical and a review of any testimonial evidence from witnesses or involved individuals. The initial documentation of evidence often consists of an “on-scene” investigation completed by the responding police officers. Additional evidence gathering, consisting of vehicle inspections and crash site inspections, can be done by an accident reconstruction expert within days, weeks, or even months of the date of the crash. If the subject vehicles are no longer available, or if the scene related evidence has dissipated, techniques such as Photogrammetry can be utilized to extract information from digital photos or videos. Once all of the available evidence is gathered, an accident reconstruction is then performed to analyze and evaluate the evidence. An accident reconstruction is analogous to assembling a puzzle; each piece of evidence represents a piece of the puzzle which, when properly combined, paints a clear picture of the collision and the events leading up to the incident.
An in-person inspection of a vehicle involved in a crash allows the reconstructionist to observe and evaluate the post-crash condition of the vehicle. Areas of investigation during a vehicle inspection include an assessment of the physical damage sustained during the subject collision as well as an evaluation of the vehicle’s condition prior to the crash. Assessment of the vehicle’s braking system, steering system and condition of the tires can play a role in the reconstruction of the accident and may be considered as factors that contributed to the accident if issues with these systems are found.
Depending on the allegations in the case, a detailed investigation and inspection of various vehicle components may be warranted. For example, if there is a question about whether an occupant was wearing a seatbelt, an accident reconstructionist has several avenues for investigating this issue. Such as:
“Black Box” (EDR) data: The US Government’s Code of Federal Regulations (Title 49: CFR 563) requires that all passenger vehicles which are equipped with an EDR and were manufactured after September 1, 2012 must record the seatbelt usage status for the driver. As such, an accident reconstructionist who has the training and equipment to access the vehicle’s EDR should be able to obtain reliable information about the seatbelt use at the time of a crash.
Seatbelt Pre-tensioner activation: Many modern vehicles are equipped with seatbelt pre-tensioners for the front occupants. The purpose of a pre-tensioner is to remove any slack in the seatbelt to ensure that the occupant is in the optimal position during a collision. The deployment of a seatbelt pre-tensioner utilizes a pyro-technic device to remove any excess slack then locks the seatbelt from extending. Evaluating the position of a seatbelt which experienced a pre-tensioner deployment will provide the accident reconstructionist with a reliable basis for concluding whether the seatbelt was being worn at the time of a collision.
Witness Marks: When a seatbelt experiences a high loading event (such as in a frontal collision), there are often “witness marks” which remain on the seatbelt and associated components. The keen eye of a qualified accident reconstruction expert is able to identify the location and intensity of any potential witness mark, or lack of witness mark, to help determine whether the seatbelt was worn during the incident.
Inspection of the crash site is often useful for the reconstructionist to understand relevant aspects such as the geometry of the terrain and potential obstructions for sight lines. In addition to documenting a crash site utilizing ground level digital photos, Veritech’s accident reconstruction experts often digitally map the crash site using drone technology or 3-D laser survey equipment.
Accident Reconstruction and Forensic Analysis:
Once all of the evidence is gathered it can then be analyzed and evaluated for use in the accident reconstruction process. Veritech’s accident reconstruction experts utilize state-of-the-art technology and methodologies to analyze and accurately reconstruct each motor vehicle accident. Our experience and attention to detail allows us to provide a clear and complete assessment of the facts for our clients so that you can make an informed decision on the direction of your case.
We would love to hear from you. Please contact Veritech engineering at 303-660-4395 to discuss your case and receive a free initial consultation with honest and candid comments from one of our Certified Forensic Engineers.