What is forensic accident reconstruction?

In 2016, there were 40,200 deaths due to vehicle accidents according to the National Safety Council. This was a 6% increase over 2015. Every year over two million people are injured or disabled due to motor-vehicle accidents. These accidents must be investigated to determine who is at fault for the accident, who is financially liable to provide financial compensation for accident damages, and who should be criminally charged if a law was broken. To answer these questions, a reconstruction of the accident is often necessary.

Immediately after the Vehicle Accident

Shortly after a vehicle accident, the police arrive to do an initial investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

  1. They interview any survivors of the accident.
  2. They interview eyewitnesses to get their perspective as to what happened.
  3. The police also investigate any possible criminal wrongdoing, such as speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if there was an hours-of-service violation if a commercial driver is involved in an accident.

Accident Investigators

After the initial police investigation takes place, independent investigators who are hired by one or more insurance companies or attorneys are brought in to analyze the events leading up to and including the accident. The primary role of the independent investigator is to determine who caused the accident. Their conclusion will indicate who is financially liable for paying damages. Some of the things accident investigators do at a crash site include:Taking measurements of where

  • Taking measurements of where impact occurred and other important details.
  • Determining the point-of-impact and if there were multiple locations.
  • Examining the final resting position of the vehicle(s).
  • Examining skid, scrub, and gouge marks as well as damage to surrounds such as a curb, objects on the sidewalk, signage, etc.

For example, accident investigators can look at the length of the skid marks to calculate the speed the vehicle was travelling at prior to impact. Many current vehicles have onboard crash data recorders, which provide vital pre-crash data, and it also collects information during the crash.

Accident investigators also inspect the vehicle(s) involved in the accident to see if there was a mechanical malfunction. They assess the damage to the vehicle(s), and they check the driver qualifications in terms of valid licensing. Once the accident investigators have gathered all the information, including the police reports, then they upload this information into electronic surveying equipment to create a computer-generated scale diagram of the accident scene. At this point, they can start reconstructing the accident.

Accident Reconstruction

Accident reconstructions are performed when there is a vehicle accident that involves a fatality or bodily injury.

  • Based on the physical evidence and calculations that were gathered at the scene of the accident, accident investigators can recreate and present the events through forensic animation.
  • Forensic animation provides an important audio-visual presentation to LA personal injury attorneys, insurance companies, and jurors so that they can see a representation of how an accident occurred and who is deemed to be at fault.

Accident investigators play a critical in court cases involving vehicle accidents. Court-qualified accident investigators can use the information they gathered from an accident scene and reconstruct the accident so that they can accurately explain what happened. Their role is also vital in helping to create safer roads, highways, and vehicle safety features. Not every accident requires the services of an accident investigator, but if an accident results in a lawsuit, their expertise can help provide an accurate portrayal of the event.

Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers Thanks to our friends and contributors from Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers for their insight into forensic accident reconstruction.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim for Joint Injuries

As a chiropractor Gaithersburg MD trusts can tell you, joint injuries can happen to almost anyone. and if someone else’s negligence caused that injury, you may have recourse for compensation.

Joint Injuries

Joints can be damaged when they are subjected to unnatural forced movements, and this damage can be either temporary or permanent. If you’ve been injured and suspect that a tendon or ligament has been damaged, it’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible. Delaying treatment can cause even more damage to the joint and could even lead to a permanent injury.

Many different types of accidents can result in joint injuries. Slip and fall accidents, car accidents, bicycling accidents, and workplace accidents can all result in joint injuries. Even a minor joint injury can cause a great deal of pain. Symptoms often include inflammation, redness, instability, limited motion, swelling, and stiffness.

Common types of joint injuries include:

●      Rotator cuff injury (shoulder injury)
●      Tennis elbow
●      Knee injuries
●      Dislocation
●      Sprains

Determine Liability

In any personal injury claim it is imperative to prove that another party was negligent or acted wrongly in some way, and that this action (or failure to act) directly led to your accident and injury.

Even though the accident was not your fault, you’ll have to prove that the at-fault individual or company was negligent in their actions. It can be helpful to collect as much evidence of your injury as possible. Photos and medical records are two examples of strong pieces of evidence in a personal injury claim.

Settlement or Trial?

An experienced personal injury lawyer may first try to negotiate a settlement after filing a claim. This is often preferable for all parties involved. For an injured victim, reaching an early settlement can be very beneficial. The process tends to be much faster than a trial case, and obtaining the settlement money quickly can help to cover medical bills. However, in cases where a settlement cannot be reached, it’s important to have a lawyer who is willing to go to court. Trials can be time-consuming and expensive, but in cases where the victim suffered severe injuries, it may be critical to obtain a fair settlement awarded by a judge or jury.

Joint injuries can be very painful and may make it difficult to accomplish daily tasks. If you’ve suffered joint injuries in an accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to a lawyer for legal counsel.

Pain & Arthritis Relief Center Thanks to our friends and contributors from Pain & Arthritis Relief Center for their insight into joint injuries!

Depositions in Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, it is likely you will be participating in an oral deposition at some point. In advance of being called for a deposition, it may be helpful for you to have a basic understanding of the process as well as your rights, and what may or may not be expected of you upon arrival.

What is a Deposition?

A deposition is a standard pretrial procedure conducted outside of, but in conjunction with the court overseeing the case.

  • They are used to establish what a witness or party knows about the suit
  • They are used to preserve that information in a formal manner
  • Written notice of the time and place of the deposition is given ahead of time, generally through a subpoena process

What Happens at a Deposition?

At the deposition, the person who is being examined is put under oath, usually by a New York court reporter, and the attorneys for each side will then ask questions which will be recorded and transcribed into written versions of the conversation or line of questioning. Sometimes, an attorney may even request a video recording of the deposition.

What Kinds of Questions Are Asked During a Deposition?

Questions can range to any number of topics, and there are often fewer restrictions on attorneys in the way they phrase their lines of questioning. That said, the proceeding is not intended to waste time, so the questions are generally tailored to the witnesses involvement in the case.

Who Might be Asked to Attend a Deposition?

There are many different kinds of witnesses. Expert witnesses like doctors who have treated the plaintiff, or doctors hired by the insurance company to examine the plaintiff, can be questioned at a pretrial deposition. These doctors may be asked about any diagnosis or prognosis, about the type and cost of the treatment for the injury, and about any limitation or permanent injury suffered by the plaintiff.

The plaintiff in a personal injury case will almost certainly have to submit to questioning at a pretrial deposition.

Either side can also call lay witnesses who they suspect or know to have had some involvement in or been a bystander to the incident in question.

A witness in a deposition would be wise to enlist the help of an attorney no matter what capacity they come to testify in. A personal injury case can be won, lost or irreparably harmed on the strength of a single deposition. Choose an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney who can protect your rights during a deposition.

veritextThanks to our friends and contributors from Veritext for their insight into court reporting and depositions.

Can I Get Workers Comp and Still Sue My Employer?

The US Department of Labor reports thousands of worker injuries each year. If you have been hurt on the job, you have a right to collect some type of benefit for your pain. You may have some confusion about workers’ compensation as opposed to a different type of financial relief such as a personal injury settlement. You may be wondering if you can collect workers’ compensation and still sue your employer. A Palm Beach County workers’ compensation lawyer can provide you with legal advice, but here is some general information that might be helpful:

Worker’s Compensation

Worker’s compensation is a benefit that most employers have to provide to their employees. It provides a percentage of the workers’ wages to the worker while they are recovering from an injury sustained during the course of their employment. Injuries that qualify for workers’ compensation may include:

  • Cuts
  • Burns
  • Back injuries
  • Illnesses
  • Mental and emotional distress

A Personal Injury Settlement

A personal injury settlement is a lump sum of money that a person gets when his or her injuries happen because of someone else’s negligence. Examples of common personal injury cases are:

  • Automobile accidents
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Animal attacks
  • Slip and fall occurrences
  • Medical malpractice

Some personal injuries can occur on the job, and the victim must handle them differently from the way that he or she would handle a workers’ compensation case.

Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury Suits

  • A workers’ compensation case is usually cut and dry. The worker does not have to establish who caused their injury. All the victim has to do is establish that they were involved in work activities when the harmful incident occurred. The person must also make sure that they file the injury claim within the specified time frame and visits the doctor for supporting paperwork. Under normal circumstances, the employee must accept worker’s compensation and cannot sue their employer for causing their injury.
  • A personal injury suit is a negligence case, which means the affected person must prove that the injury occurred because someone else was negligent.  However, you would be suing another party for personal injury and also filing a workers’ compensation claim.  An example of this in a workplace scenario is:
  • A delivery driver is hit by another driver.
  • A traveling salesman gets hurt at the hotel they’re staying at for a broken elevator or a door that closes on them.

Can I Collect Workers’ Compensation and Sue My Employer?

The answer to that question is usually no. Workers’ compensation programs stipulate that a person who files a claim cannot sue the employer. In most cases, the employee has to choose between the two types of coverage. The decision-making process is usually easy, however, particularly with the guidance of a personal injury or worker’s compensation lawyer.

Schedule an Appointment with a Worker’s Compensation Lawyer

You can request a complimentary and confidential consultation with a worker’s compensation attorney who can put your case in perspective for you. Tell him or her about your circumstances and resulting injury. The attorney can advise you whether or not you have grounds for a lawsuit and if you may qualify for worker’s compensation benefits instead.

Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt for their insight into workers’ compensation and personal injury.

Will my settlement also pay for my totalled motorcycle?

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver, you likely have a great many questions. You may have concerns about compensation for your injuries as well as whether you can receive financial recovery for a totaled motorcycle.

Tort Law and Your Motorcycle Accident

In the United States, compensation for injuries, damages, and losses arising out of an accident, including one involving a motorcycle, is governed by what is known as tort law. A tort is defined as an act or omission that results in injury, damage, harm, or other losses to another party. A tort is considered a civil wrongdoing for which courts are able to impose liability on the party that caused the wrongdoing or accident.

Overview of Compensable Losses in a Motorcycle Accident Case

Financial compensation awarded in an accident case, including one involving a motorcycle, depends on the facts and circumstances of the incident itself. In addition, the actual injuries, damages, and losses experienced by a victim of someone else’s negligence come into play.

With that understood, here are some common examples of losses for which compensation is often awarded in an accident case:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Physical disability
  • Physical disfigurement
  • Property damage or loss

Grounds for Determining That a Motorcycle is Totaled

As part of obtaining fair compensation for a severely damaged motorcycle, certain factors come to bear when making a decision that a bike is totaled or deemed worthless.

  1. Is damage to the bike is so severe that it cannot be repaired in a safe manner?
  2. Are the costs associated with repairing the motorcycle greater than the actual value of the bike itself?
  3. Is damage to the motorcycle so significant that it is not considered safe pursuant to state law or associated regulations?

Insurance Claim Settlement

Even if an insurance company intends to declare a motorcycle “totaled” during the claims settlement process, that determination does not guarantee that you will receive a fair settlement. Insurance companies are in business for a primary reason; they exist to make money for their shareholders. One way in which an insurance company increases its profits is to limit the amount of money expended on claims, including claims that seek payment for property loss such as a damaged motorcycle.

Insurance companies utilize a variety of strategies to limit their exposure in claims. Their goal is to reduce the amount of money they pay to claimants. Skilled and experienced motorcycle accident lawyers in Washington DC can assist you in taking on an insurance company that seems committed to preventing a fair, complete, and comprehensive financial settlement. This includes full payment for a totaled motorcycle.

Some people elect to forgo seeking legal assistance during the insurance claim settlement process. These individuals conclude that involving a lawyer would decrease the amount of money they obtain in the end. In fact, time and again, accident victims that retain legal counsel end up with larger claim settlements than is the case for those who do not have professional representation. This usually proves to be true even when attorney fees are taken into consideration.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Motorcycle Accident Lawyers – Washington DC for their insight into motorcycle accident cases.

How Social Media Can Hurt Your Car Accident Claim

Social media lets us keep up with old friends and family members who live far away and provides hours of entertainment. Unfortunately, social media also has a dark side. It can also make it more difficult to get compensation from a lawsuit after a car accident. If you’ve been in a car accident and want to file a lawsuit, take the time to learn how social media can hurt your chances of obtaining compensation.

Your Photos

Social media is great for posting photos of yourself and the places you’ve been. Certain photos on your social media accounts, however, can cause your car accident claim to backfire. For instance, if you were hurt in a car accident but are still posting photos of you in the gym, insurance adjusters may think your claim is invalid and make every effort to deny you compensation. It is best to avoid posting photos of you doing any kind of physical activities in the middle of the lawsuit process.

Location, Location, Location

Where you spend your time can also affect your claim.  For example, if you have a back injury and are tagged in a picture at a barbecue, it can hurt your case. Even if you are just sitting in a chair, insurance adjusters may think your injury isn’t that serious. They may believe that if you are well enough to spend time outside of your home, you must not be hurt that badly.

Be Careful About What You Say

Many people have gotten their claims denied because of what they posted on their social media accounts. For example, if you made a status update minutes before a car accident, it could look like you were driving while distracted and should be partly responsible for the accident. It can also look bad if you write a post about how much fun you had at a pool party or hiking trip. Before you make a post, consider if it might hurt your claim or not.

If you are involved in an accident, it may best best to delete your social media pages for the time being. It might be difficult to stay off Facebook and Instagram, but it will be worth it in the end. To further protect your rights, contact an experienced car accident lawyer Des Moines IA trusts to discuss your case. He or she may provide guidance and prevent you from making mistakes that could hurt your case.

Johnston Martineau PLLPThanks to our friends and contributors from Johnston Martineau PLLP for their insight into car accident cases.

Does not wearing a motorcycle helmet hurt my case?

Colorado is a great place to ride motorcycles. Whether you’re cruising through mountain turns or simply commuting to work, Colorado never disappoint with its scenic highways and byways. We hope this blog post will give you something to think about when you’re choosing how to protect yourself while you ride.

Motorcycles are fun, but they can be dangerous

The Department of Transportation says you are 27 times more likely to suffer a fatal accident riding a motorcycle. Motorcycle accidents almost always lead to head injuries. It’s proven that you are less likely to get a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) or die if you are wearing a helmet.

Colorado does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets

Even though you don’t have to wear a helmet, the insurance companies may try to hold it against you if you are in an accident and you were not wearing a helmet. They will argue that your injuries are partially because you didn’t wear a helmet. That’s right, even if their insured hit you because she wasn’t looking where she was going, the insurance company may try to blame you for the injuries she caused.

Thankfully, Colorado courts are on the side of motorcyclists who don’t wear helmets. If you are trying to recoup some money from medical bills, you cannot be penalized for not wearing a helmet.

Colorado courts say that evidence showing a motorcyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet is inadmissible. In other words, you can’t hold it against a motorcyclist if they weren’t wearing a helmet. If you aren’t wearing a helmet, you aren’t negligent, according to the courts. As a motorcycle accident  trusts might explain: the evidence is inadmissible. In short, the insurance company can’t argue that you would have been less injured if you were wearing a helmet.

Not wearing a helmet may not hurt your case, but it does hurt

We strongly encourage motorcyclists to wear helmets, gloves, riding boots, and armor. According to a government study, helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing fatalities.  In Colorado, 59% of motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets.  In other words, the only way to ride safe is to wear protective gear, especially helmets.

So there you have it. If you have any questions about any of these issues, talk to a local lawyer right away.

How do I Manage a Personal Injury Settlement for a Disabled Child?

Many children with disabilities rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid benefits to provide for their everyday health care and basic necessities.  But these benefits are means-tested – that is, a child only qualifies if he or she has limited assets and income.

So what happens when your disabled son or daughter suffers a personal injury and receives a financial settlement?   That personal injury settlement can make life much easier for you and your child, but it can also cause devastating problems if it disqualifies your child from government benefits.

Without careful planning by an experienced special needs attorney, your child’s benefits may be in jeopardy.  At their core, government programs cover only life’s basic necessities.  But they don’t provide long-term financial security, so you must strike a balance between continuing to receive government benefits and accepting a personal injury settlement.

That balance involves three main options:  (1) give up your child’s government SSI and Medicaid benefits; (2) legally “spend down” the financial award; or (3) set up what is commonly called a “special needs trust” for the benefit of your child.

Of course, the first option – giving up your child’s benefits – is not ideal.  This is especially true if your child has significant medical expenses that are covered by Medicaid.  That leaves either spending down the financial award or making use of a special needs trust.

The concept of spending down assets is simple.  You accept the financial award, put it in the bank, and then spend it on expenses or assets that are allowed.  For example, you can spend money on additional medical expenses not covered by Medicaid, or on education, personal property (clothes, medical equipment, cell phone, computer, iPad, etc.), or even on a specially made vehicle to allow your child’s transportation.  Depending on your child’s age and abilities, you may even consider purchasing a home for your child.  Spending down is usually best suited to situations where your child has received a smaller personal injury settlement or award, because it is generally difficult to spend down significant amounts in a short period of time.

The final option is a special needs trust.  A special needs trust is a discretionary trust set up specifically for the benefit of a disabled person. This is a type of trust that supplements government benefits, and therefore it is also referred to as a “supplemental needs trust.” Special needs trusts may provide money for nearly any cost beyond food, shelter, clothing, and health care without affecting disability programs or government benefits. Some of the things that special needs trusts pay for include internet, furniture, education, transportation, and even vacations.  There are different types of special needs trusts, with the most common being a stand-alone special needs trust and a pooled special needs trust.

A stand-alone trust has one beneficiary while a pooled trust has many beneficiaries’ assets pooled together.  Special needs trusts are not “one-size-fits-all”.  Each type of trust has its own advantages and disadvantages, but in each case when a beneficiary dies the trust must repay Medicaid before anything may be distributed to the remainder beneficiaries.

Receiving a personal injury settlement can be an important occasion in your child’s life.  With the help of a Michigan special needs attorney you will be able to decide the best way to handle that settlement and maintain the government programs that are critical to your child’s growth and well-being.

Glenn R. MatecunThanks to our friends and contributors from Glenn R. Matecun for their insight into special needs trusts after personal injury settlement.

The Importance of Taking Photos After an Accident

Being involved in an auto accident can be a traumatic event. You may find your ability to think rationally clouded with adrenaline and emotion. What do you do?
There are obvious and important courses of action to take:
1.     Call the police
2.     Tend to the injured parties
3.     Gather insurance information
Then, the most important thing is to take photos of the scene of the accident.  This easily overlooked step can make a huge difference in dealing with insurance companies and lawsuits.
Here’s the Why, the How, and the What of taking photos after an accident:
The Why
  • Photos can help reconstruct the cause and scene of an accident.
  • Photos can help establish liability in both property damage and personal injury cases.
  • Photos can help the insurance companies and a car accident lawyer Phoenix AZ relies on to build your case. They eliminate guess work and establish facts.
  • Memories and verbal testimonies become fuzzy and change over time. Photos capture details that may be easily forgotten.
  • DON’T rely on law enforcement to take photos on your behalf, they are doing so for their report, not for your claim.
The How
  • Use a digital camera. Most cell phones today take clear photos.
  • Take too many photos. Not all photos will turn out, you want to have options.
  • In focus. Take the time to make sure the shots are in focus.
  • Photograph both wide shots and close-ups.
  • Engage your camera’s time stamp. Or take a photo of something that indicates date and time, like a bank sign.
  • Print physical copies. Keep a digital backup of all photos.
The What
  • Wide, general shots of the scene. Include all vehicles involved.
  • Weather conditions. Include location of sun or moon.
  • Road signs and traffic signals.
  • All four corners of the vehicles
  • Include the license plate in as many shots as possible.
  • Interiors of the vehicles
  • Close-ups of all damage
  • Skid marks
  • Debris, such as broken glass and detached car parts.
  • All people on the scene. This includes police officers, paramedics, other drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
  • Injuries. Both major and minor. Both yours and others.
  • Latent injuries. Bruises and swelling might not occur until days after the accident.
Documenting and organizing photographic evidence of an auto accident can help you build a strong case and ensure that you and your loved ones are justly compensated for damages and injuries.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, whether you have photos or not, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into the importance of taking photos at an accident and car accident cases.

What Are Expressed or Implied Warranties?

Almost every product that can be purchased in America comes with some form of warranty which guarantees quality, even if it is not stated on the product. Warranties allow for consumers to purchase products with confidence that it will function as it is meant to and hold companies to the standards of quality they advertise. There are two types of warranties: expressed and implied.

Expressed warranties are those that the manufacturer clearly states. These typed warranties may be printed on the product, explained in a pamphlet included within the packaging, or expressed by the sales professionals from whom you buy the product. Either way, an expressed warranty is a guarantee that a product will perform at an expected level of quality. Part of this guarantee is a promise that the manufacturer will fix or replace the product if it fails to meet this expectation. Expressed warranties are a contract between the manufacturer and the consumer, and can be enforced through the law if need be.

It is worth noting that warranties which were merely verbally expressed by sales professionals can be much harder to prove and enforce. When there is no written agreement, it can be very hard to pin down what exactly the agreement was, and this gives both the manufacture and the consumer room to abuse the terms. If possible, try to get such warranties in writing before purchasing the product.

An implied warranty is based on the expectation that a product will perform as marketed, and will not pose a danger to the consumer. If the product fails to function as it is meant to, or proves to be dangerous, then the manufacturer would be in breach of the implied warranty. However, having a product repaired or replaced under its’ implied warranty can prove much more difficult. Implied warranties may require the help of a skilled product liability attorney, who can negotiate on the behalf of the consumer and ensure that the manufacturer repairs the product properly as required by law.

If a defective product causes injury, contact an experienced attorney who will be able to analyze the implied or express warranty for that product. A top personal injury attorney Atlanta GA has to offer is often more able to determine the difference between the two types of warranties and possible breach of warranty causing product liability. If the attorney finds that there is a breach of warranty, then that warranty may be used in a product liability lawsuit. Regardless of whether a manufacturer was aware that they created a dangerous product, if they failed to warn the public properly and distributed a product with manufacturing errors, they can be held liable for any injuries or deaths that result from it.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their contribution on product liability law.