The Challenge of Determining Impact Speed For a Car Accident Lawyer

On detective shows, the leading detective character can stand at the scene of a crime, rub his chin ponderously while looking around for evidence, and then explain what happened with accuracy. Unfortunately, it’s rarely that easy in real life, especially when it comes to car accidents. If you try to evaluate what happened to someone involved in a low speed rear-end collision, there are inherent limitations and assumptions in the data and approaches that investigators use.

Common Errors
Say a client was involved in a rear-end collision, and their car accident lawyer in Philadelphia wanted to prove that the impact resulted in injury to his client. Well, basing the case details on what was reported by investigators might be problematic. Often, the occupant motion that’s described is wrong, the data that’s used to validate the models is improper, the references cited frequently refute the asserted conclusions, the data only accounts for one vehicle in determining impact speed, and any number of other errors or half-truths.

Occupant Motion
Based on the concept of relativity, any description of motion can be observed from more than one perspective. Often, investigators describe the results of a rear-end collision from a flawed perspective. Imagine a blue car at rest when a red car slams into the back. It might appear that the blue car’s occupant is propelled backward into the seatback, but this isn’t correct. Technically, the vehicle is accelerating while the occupant is stationary, so it’s the seat that’s propelled into the occupant.

This might seem like splitting hairs, but that specific type of motion describes a different result, with a torso pushed out from under the head and a cervical column undergoing extension. Only after the outside force of an accelerating seat comes in contact with the person does the head overtake the torso and move into flexion, followed by rebound from the torso when it hits the seatbelt. Understanding the nuances of an accident is very important to doing the best job and getting good results for a car accident client.

Other Flaws
The occupant motion error is just one of many. Another error occurs when improper data references of damage to test vehicles, or from case examples that seem to validate the conclusion but aren’t actually valid to the case at hand are presented. A car accident lawyer in Philadelphia has to be able to spot these kinds of data errors and be prepared to refute them, or at the very least, question them.

What To Do About It
One of the most important things a car accident lawyer in Philadelphia can do is recognize the flaws in these common approaches for evaluating damage to a vehicle and injury to the occupants. Any client who has been involved in a low speed rear-end collision should help their personal injury lawyer recreate the accident. Together, the lawyer and the client should be able to construct a good case based on sound data and information.