Personal injury Library

How Does Accident Reconstruction Work In Train Accident Cases?

The Importance of Accident Reconstruction Following a Serious Train Accident in Texas

All of the evidence in the world can be unpersuasive to a jury or an insurance company without proper context. To give evidence context people with industry-specific knowledge known as expert witnesses are usually employed. One of the most important of these experts is the accident reconstructionist.

Train accident reconstructionists are trained experts, generally with years of experience in the railroad industry and a keen understanding of physics and crash science, who are able to recreate the particular circumstances of a train accident based upon information gathered after the fact, such as data recorders in the train and any vehicles involved. Matching this with how the debris field is spread out following an accident, such experts can help determine with reasonable certainty the conditions just before and during a train accident.

In this article the attorneys at Grossman Law Offices discuss the role that accident reconstructionists play in successful litigation, whether it is courtroom testimony, or in helping to establish a fact pattern, which provides a better idea to all involved how the evidence says an accident occurred.

Questions answered on this page:

  • What is a train accident reconstructionist?
  • What role do accident reconstructionists play in making sense of evidence?
  • How do accident reconstructionists increase the victim's likelihood of receiving fair compensation?
  • Why is an experienced train accident attorney crucial to selecting the right reconstructionist for a particular case?

Understanding Train Accident Reconstruction

Contrary to what many people may think, an accident reconstructionist isn't just someone who hops up on a witness stand and gives their impression of how an accident might have happened. Based upon the forensic information available following a crash, the reconstructionist attempts to scientifically reconstruct the events leading up to an accident. Since their testimony and reconstruction is based upon physical evidence, the more and better the evidence, the more compelling the reconstructionists testimony.

Train accident reconstruction is the use of available information by a professional reconstructionist to rebuild an accident scene, as well as the circumstances leading up to it. This can be done utilizing all sorts of data, ranging from pictures of vehicles to witness testimony. Whatever the piece of evidence, if it is capable of shedding light on an otherwise chaotic incident, the reconstructionist can use it to clarify the defendant's liability for the jury.

In order for the train accident reconstruction to have any validity and persuasive power, your attorney needs to obtain information for your reconstruction expert. Written documents, such as transcripts of the aforementioned interviews, would be enormously valuable to your efforts, as they will provide certain clues. If, for example, a reliable witness said that she saw the train conductor fail to slow down prior to colliding with a stalled vehicle at an intersection that helps our reconstructionist establish a key fact, bolstering the simulation's accuracy.

Of course, the best kinds of documentation are information such as event data recorders (EDR). These are devices used in automobiles, trucks, and trains, designed so that a certain period of engine data would be imprinted during and immediately after an accident. While translating the data into a simulation is a fairly complex process to most people, what this means for the layman is that the EDR is itself a type of witness, observing crucial events before an accident such as the speed of the train and when the engineer applied the brakes.

Information like that discussed earlier will ultimately culminate in an end product made by the reconstructionist. Quite often, this can take the form of a written report, explaining in relatively simple language why the train collision occurred.

How the Reconstructionist Aids an Injury Case

Some may think that accident reconstructionists are the equivalent of a legal lights show, in that it is just an expert's theory of how things happened. The real impact of a reconstructionist is in their ability to contextualize information.

Most peoples' eyes glaze over when listening to long technical testimony. Something in human psychology allows us to distance ourselves from complicated language. Here lies the real value of the reconstructionist. The written report that reconstructionists supply breaks down the accident in the simplest terms possible.

Just as important, advances in technology permit cost-efficient video recreations of the reconstruction expert's report. While these videos are admissible as the expert's opinion in most court cases, their real impact is that they can help to force an insurance company or railroad to settle a case. There is something about seeing an accurate depiction of the most plausible accident scenario that tends to make all but the most obstinate defendants come to their senses.

If the reconstruction video doesn't sway the insurance company or the railroad, our firm is perfectly prepared to see how a jury reacts. In general, when a jury sees a well-done reconstruction video, it allows them to fully appreciate the violence of the accident as well as how the railroad's negligence contributed to the accident. When used properly, accident reconstructions are powerful tools of persuasion in both mediation and in a courtroom.

Why you need an experienced train accident attorney

While an important part of any case railroad injury case, train accident reconstruction is just one of many tools in an experienced train accident attorney's tool box. Married to a thorough knowledge of the law, professional evidence gathering, and litigating skill, accident reconstruction helps your attorney get maximum compensation for your injuries.

For over 25 years, Grossman Law Offices has employed this kind of "all of the above" approach in our quest to get the best outcomes for our injured clients. If you would like to discuss the specifics of your case, give us a call at (855) 326-0000. We answer the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Related Train Accident Articles:

Prev Post