A: In many cases over the years we have assisted individuals in accidents to help them sort out the facts and circumstances of the accident/collision.
The initial and main assistance is to instruct them to try to accumulate all the information on the accident including police reports, measurements, photographs, witness statements, etc. This is extremely important!
The field of accident/collision reconstruction includes specialized applications of the fundamental laws of physics which require information/evidence about the collision;
- tire marks,
- damage to the vehicles,
- scene information, etc.
With this information any competent accident/collision reconstructionist should be able to perform a preliminary evaluation to ascertain initial impressions and some form of preliminary opinions.
- What happened?
- What were the approximate speeds?
- What were the circumstances which led to the collision/accident?
- Was the accident avoidable?
- Who caused the accident?
When we assist people involved in collisions, we try to emphasize that the police are not their enemy! Many people involved in collisions come to us with blood in their eye because they think that the police/prosecutor “are out to get them”!).
That is not the case in most circumstances.
- With an informal initial impression and preliminary opinion from a qualified expert in accident reconstructionI a subsequent discussion with the police investigator about the particulars of the accident/collision may resolve things (Over the years it has happened on many occasions). Particularly if it is something perhaps the police have overlooked and/or misinterpreted. That is how we as accident/collision investigators and reconstructionists are supposed to do our job!
Many, if not all, of the 'pro bono' cases we have done have been resolved without our having to travel or incur expenses except for spending a little of our time assisting those involved in an accident with understanding the circumstances of the accident.
Sometimes we write a report/affidavit to assist them in their defense. Sometimes we have suggested that they use the information we have provided to them and contact a local expert for additional assistance.
We have often thought about forming some form of an ‘Innocence Project’ type association to be used to assist folks ‘before the verdict’ (since the current ‘Innocence Project' is for folks already convicted). We just haven’t found the time and/or funds to move forward on that idea.
- The average person involved in a collision/accident does not have adequate resources when compared to the police/prosecutors offices. It takes considerable effort to sift through all the information and evidence in accidents/collisions. The creation of a 3rd party objective panel to review the evidence and police work 'before the verdict' would be justified and beneficial to avoid unwarranted prosecution. I believe in Europe this is how cases are handled. The Judge hires two independent accident reconstructionists/investigators. They come to conclusions. If they agree. case closed. If not, a 3rd party is brought in to settle the dispute.
If YOU have been in an collision/accident and need assistance, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact someone in your area who does collision reconstruction. Be prepared with the circumstances of your situation including the police report, if possible, and perhaps you can get some needed assistance.
- McHenry Consultants