Under Virginia law, a victim who has been injured and suffered losses in an accident caused by another party or parties is entitled to pursue damages against those responsible for the accident. These damages often include economic losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages, as well as non-economic losses, like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and permanent disability. A Virginia personal injury lawyer knows that one of the most common types of these cases is motor vehicle accidents.
Typically, when a victim is injured in a car or other type of vehicle accident, a claim will be filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to recoup the victim’s financial losses. While the fault of the accident may seem clear to the victim, proving that fault can be much more complex, especially if the at-fault driver and/or the insurance company are disputing the driver’s liability. Because these claims are rarely cut and dry, anyone injured in a vehicle accident should consult with a Virginia personal injury attorney to determine what legal recourse they have.
When the insurance company is disputing who is at fault for the crash, the victim’s attorney will gather evidence in order to prove that liability. This evidence can include photographs of the crash scene, video from surveillance cameras in the area, and eyewitness testimony. The attorney may also use the testimony of expert witnesses, including the testimony of an accident reconstruction specialist.
What Is an Accident Reconstruction Specialist?
An accident reconstruction specialist recreates an accident scenario in order to answer questions regarding negligence and liability. Specialists use principles of engineering, mathematics, and physics to conduct their investigation and analysis of the crash. Using these principles, a reconstruction specialist is able to develop opinions regarding driver visibility, collision angels, velocity, and other factors that contributed to the cause of the accident.
In order to recreate the crash, the specialist will examine the accident site, take measurements, and use surveying equipment to map out the scene and feed this data into a computer software program. The specialist will also inspect the vehicles involved for both physical and mechanical damage. They will also include any vehicle data recorders, if available. All of this information is used to recreate the accident.
Benefits of Retaining an Accident Reconstruction Specialist
As a car accident attorney prepares their case, they will look for evidence to determine if the at-fault driver was engaged in distracted driving behaviors, speeding, or other factors that will help prove negligence and liability. While a specialist cannot testify as to what the drivers were doing at the time of the accident, he or she can create and explain the mechanics of the crash and this information can help strengthen the attorney’s case.
Some of the benefits of hiring a reconstruction specialist include:
- Determine if either vehicle accelerated or used brakes leading up to the collision.
- Determine if either vehicle had cruise control engaged at the time of impact.
- Determine if occupants of the vehicles were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.
- Determine if the engine light or other mechanical warnings were on.
- Determine if vehicles had lights on at the time of the crash.
- Determine if visibility was a factor in the accident and if so, explain why.
- Determine the sequence of events leading up to the accident.
- Help sort out and explain any conflicting testimonies provided by different eyewitnesses to the accident.
- Measure and quantify various factors in an accident using science and physics, for example, the speed of the vehicles at the time of the crash.
- Prepare video, charts, and other visual aids that will help the jury understand how the crash occurred.
Let Our Personal Injury Law Firm Advocate for You
If you have been injured in an accident caused by another driver, you are likely not only facing physical issues but may also be worried about the financial issues medical treatment and recovery may have on you and your family. Our legal team can help you get the financial compensation you may be entitled to based on the circumstances of your case. We can help negotiate a fair and just settlement with the other driver’s insurance company, however, we will not hesitate to move forward to litigate your case if the insurance company fails to negotiate in good faith.
To learn more, contact Shapiro, Appleton, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Virginia car accident attorneys.
Rick Shapiro has practiced personal injury law for over 30 years in Virginia, North Carolina, and throughout the Southeastern United States. He is a Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (ABA Accredited) and has litigated injury cases throughout the eastern United States, including wrongful death, trucking, faulty products, railroad, and medical negligence claims. His success in and out of the courtroom is a big reason why he was named 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” in railroad law in U.S. News & World Report's Best Lawyers publication (Norfolk, VA area), and he has been named a “Best Lawyer” and “Super Lawyer” by those peer-reviewed organizations for many years. Rick was also named a “Leader in the Law, Class of 2022” by Virginia Lawyers Weekly (total of 33 statewide honorees consisting of lawyers and judges across Virginia).
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