Eyewitnesses usually provide the most persuasive evidence in motor vehicle accident cases. A reliable eyewitness can provide an accurate description of the events that caused the accident, and juries usually find such testimony very helpful.
In some accidents, however, no eyewitnesses are available, either because no one saw the accident happen or because their testimony is unreliable.
When no eyewitnesses are available, accident investigators usually turn to an experienced forensic engineer for assistance.
What does a forensic engineer do?
A forensic engineer is trained to apply scientific principles to understanding the sequence of events that led to and followed a collision.
The engineer’s first step is to visit the accident site and carefully note the location of the vehicles that were involved, observe any marks left by the vehicles such as skid marks, scrapes on trees or structures, and the damage suffered by each vehicle. Most, if not all, forensic engineers photograph the scene.
Once the engineer has gathered all the evidence gathered from the scene, the next step is a laboratory analysis of the information thus obtained.
Forensic engineers keep a large library of manuals that provide information on the structural capabilities of motor vehicles. An engineer can consult one or more of these manuals to determine the impact resistance of a particular automobile.
An engineer will also use principles from physics and chemistry to determine the relative speeds of each vehicle and the energy delivered by the impact.
Perhaps the most valuable service provided by a forensic engineer is the use of computer software to create a virtual reconstruction of the accident. Such videos use the information gathered by the engineer to create an animation of the sequence of events leading up to the collision. They can be very persuasive when shown to a jury in a courtroom trial.
A forensic engineer isn’t necessary in every case, but this type of work can be crucial for allowing some injured people to recover the compensation they deserve after they have been injured in a car accident.