Find an Expert Witness

Forensic, General & Medical
Expert Witnesses

What Does an Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness Do?

Expert witnesses that reconstruct an accident generally start with the evidence, factors of the case and other elements that help them understand the incident to recreate it through a timeline and for each action that occurred. By accomplishing this goal, the expert witness is able to explain to the judge or jury panel what happened and how.

The Type of Accident

An expert tasked with reconstructing the accident generally will start in different ways depending on the type of accident. If the matter involves the elements of negligence, he or she will use the incident and any necessary duty of care owed. However, if the accident is on the road or in traffic, the professional may need to look at data such as speeds, weather and obstacles on the road. Other accidents similar to passenger vehicles could include trucking or biking incidents and the victim may have injuries as a pedestrian from a car. The more factors involved, the more the expert will need in time and evidence to create a solid timeline
of what happened where and when.

What Accident Reconstruction Is

While the expert would have a background in the subject field for the material in the case, he or she would need to
use various methods of deducing when certain items occurred. This may depend on the evidence or the factors of the claim. Weather and natural phenomena may lead the investigation in one direction while human factors could derail the research into the matter. The reconstruction requires methods and processes that the professional uses to determine the elements and timing. He or she may even use sophisticated computer programming to help discover different issues at play.

What the Expert Does in the Reconstruction

Some expert witnesses will use various tools and equipment to determine how the accident occurred. Among the equipment, machines and computers may support the activities to supplement the expert’s knowledge and methods. Reconstruction may help resolve numerous issues such as the speeds each person drove in an accident, the severity of the collision at the impact, visibility for each driver and the behavior the person exhibited during the incident. The more questions the expert is able to answer, the better able he or she may demonstrate to the courtroom who is responsible for the accident.

The expert witness for reconstructions will usually use various methods to complete a scientific analysis of the accident. He or she will interview and work with police officers. The process generally works in reverse at the point of impact and the subsequent damage caused by the accident. Gather additional data with the incident may provide more details, so the expert is able to formulate a coherent and understandable report. Then, the professional will present testimony through a timeline of what happened at which point in the accident. This may connect each party to certain actions and behavior.

The Need for an Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness

Answers to certain questions are possible through an accident reconstruction expert witness with various incidents on the road, in the sky, in the water or when additional factors confuse the matter. The professional may provide details about the speeds related to the accident if the collision was avoidable, sight distances for objects, the severity of the collision and subsequent damage and if code violations occurred at the time of the incident. Even for less severe issues, the expert may provide information and answers to include the collision event and related factors that might have caused the impact and surrounding damage.

The expert witness may work for the lawyer, but the opposing legal team may hire him or her as well. If an insurance company has an involvement in the case, the carrier may hire the expert to explain certain factors and elements to oppose the plaintiff’s claim. Others may hire the professional for criminal matters that may connect to safety and local or state law enforcement cases. When hired, the lawyer will usually negotiate a retention contract for payment and other expert witness provisions.

The Expert in the Courtroom

The accident reconstruction expert witness will supply the courtroom with a presentation about the incident or collision. This may include visual aids or a timeline as well as video or photos to explain the situation better. His or her job is to inform the courtroom of the accident as fully as he or she is capable of doing so and connect any specifics to either party.

Provided by

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

Find an Expert Witness