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Accident Reconstruction and Wrongful Death Cases

At Powers & Santola, LLP, we use the latest technology to help our clients obtain a settlement after an accident. For decades, we have used accident reconstruction, which is an invaluable tool when negotiating or litigating a personal injury claim. Accident reconstruction experts help us visualize an accident which happened months ago. They can create simulations and 3D animation that prove very persuasive when trying to understand who is to blame for an accident.

Accident reconstruction also has a role to play in wrongful death claims. These are unique personal injury cases. After a loved one dies, you might seek to hold the defendant accountable by filing a claim. Unfortunately, evidence is hard to find because one of the most important witnesses—your loved one—has passed away and can’t testify. Fortunately, accident reconstruction can help us “see” what happened on that fateful day when your loved one suffered fatal injuries. Call a New York wrongful death attorney at our firm for more information.

What is Accident Reconstruction?

Accident reconstruction is an established forensic field. Experts use physical evidence, mathematics, and physics to reconstruct what happened during an accident. They rely on many different pieces of evidence, including:

  • Photographs
  • Witness statements
  • Physical damage to vehicles
  • Medical records showing injuries

With the use of computer software, experts often create an animation showing how two cars collided or how a truck smashed into a smaller vehicle.

Helpfully, many motor vehicles have event data recorders which regularly record information about the vehicle, such as:

  • Vehicle speed before the crash
  • Ignition cycle at time of accident
  • Whether the driver sped up before the crash
  • Change in forward crash speed
  • Whether the driver stepped on the brake
  • Air bag deployment time
  • Whether the driver was wearing a seat belt

This data is very helpful for a reconstruction expert. For example, it might show that the driver of another vehicle did not hit the brake—even though he testifies that he did.

Reconstruction experts use all this information to provide expert testimony about the accident. Probably their greatest service, however, is to create an animated video or 3D reconstruction which visualizes the accident for people who were not there. If certain conditions are met, a judge will allow this evidence into trial. And we can also use it during negotiation with an insurance company.

Does Powers & Santola, LLP, Use Accident Reconstruction?

Yes. Reconstruction is often helpful in wrongful death cases. Sometimes it isn’t necessary, but it’s usually beneficial when the defendant’s story is at odds with the physical evidence.

We can use reconstruction experts in many different wrongful death cases:

  • Motor vehicle accidents. The most important question in a motor vehicle case is who is responsible for the accident. In most cases, drivers try to pin the blame on each other. When a loved one dies, we might not hear their testimony. Helpfully, motor vehicles increasingly have data recorders, so we can download that information to help with “building out” a reconstruction of the accident. We can use accident reconstruction for car, truck, motorcycle, and bus accidents.
  • Pedestrian accidents. A thorough investigation is usually necessary for pedestrian accidents. These are challenging accidents because they usually happen in dense areas with many vehicles, signs, and obstructions. Even if there is nearby surveillance video, it might not capture the accident in sufficient detail. A reconstruction expert can review all evidence to reproduce what happened, including wrap trajectory, which is the way a pedestrian’s torso wraps onto a vehicle’s hood after being hit.
  • Construction accidents. We maintain an active construction accident practice, and we have helped many families who lost a loved one in a tragic jobsite accident. Our reconstruction experts can help visualize falls, explosions, fires, building collapse, trench collapse, and other accidents. This type of reconstruction is probably not necessary to receive workers’ compensation benefits—but it is helpful if we are suing an employer under the Labor Law or a product manufacturer.
  • Medical malpractice. Medical procedures are difficult for most people to understand. They lack the expertise to understand medical jargon and might throw their hands up when asked whether a doctor made a mistake. A reconstruction expert can help juries understand the procedures performed and what went wrong. That helps them determine liability for a fatal medical outcome.

Reach out to our firm to speak with one of our New York wrongful death attorneys about your loss. The most important thing is to begin collecting evidence which reconstruction experts might use. The sooner you contact our firm, the more evidence we can find and preserve.

Cost & Availability

Many clients are worried they can’t afford our services. Is accident reconstruction expensive? What happens if money is tight?

The good news is that Powers & Santola, LLP, includes the cost of accident reconstruction experts in our services. We have worked with many reconstruction experts and know how to find the right people. Our fee agreement removes risk from your shoulders because we will not come for payment unless we win your case.

We will decide whether reconstruction is necessary. Some wrongful death cases do not require the help of a reconstruction expert. For example, dash cam footage might have captured the accident with sufficient clarity that there’s no doubt another motorist smashed into your loved one. Or the accident is simple to understand without the help of video. For example, your loved one might have died after a nurse dispensed the wrong medication in a nursing home. That type of mistake is easy for people to visualize without animation.

However, many wrongful death cases are strengthened with some sort of visual presentation. We use our professional judgment based on decades of experience.

Let’s Get Started

At Powers & Santola, LLP, our firm has always focused on obtaining favorable client outcomes. We know our wrongful death clients are struggling emotionally after a tragic death. You deserve an experienced, full-service law firm which can advocate effectively for your legal rights during this painful time. Contact us at your convenience to arrange a consultation.

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