Accident construction relates mostly to vehicular accidents. Accident reconstruction lists and uses a combination of basic physics of motions, scene observations, and damage assessment to reconstruct the events leading up to an accident. This may include determining the speed, direction and reactions of the various vehicles and people involved in the accident and coordinating with physical evidence to create an animated recreation of the accident scene.
One distinction that is important in the court of law is the difference between an accident animation and accident simulation software. Accident simulation software uses the basic input of the user to recreate the accident based on an included physics package in the software itself. This type of assessment should be validated prior to being introduced into court. Much like other types of computer-aided analysis (for example Finite Element Analysis), a computer will usually produce a result regardless of its accuracy which bring to mind the common saying that garbage in equals garbage out. To assure its reliability, computer simulation should be validated by comparing the results to closed form solutions or experimental data. On the other hand, accident animation is an animation created by the accident investigator which demonstrates his or her opinion of the sequence of events that took place during the accident. Since the software does not predict or calculate the results, accident animations can best be described as demonstrative of the expert’s opinion. Therefore, their credibility is tied directly to the credibility of the expert witness.
We have performed a number of accident reconstruction ranging from single and multi-car accidents, 18-wheeler wheel-off to vehicle/pedestrian accidents, and much more. While most accident reconstruction experts are able to offer basic accident reconstruction services, such as estimating speeds, reactions, and analyzing skid marks, many firms lack the expertise to handle more complicated cases involving alleged component failures. At RWFE, we have handled cases involving issues ranging from simple failure-to-avoid up to component failures such as axles, drive shafts, tires, lug-nuts. These cases often include allegations of manufacturing and design defects and require expertise beyond that of an accident reconstruction expert.