Why Your Accident Reconstruction Expert Needs Animation

Why Your Accident Reconstruction Expert Needs Animation - Header

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what could a legal animation be worth? 

When it comes to civil litigation, it could be worth millions of dollars.

If you have a case that involves an accident, there’s no doubt that you have studied its details inside and out. You fully understand the complex data and have strategized how to present your case as a compelling narrative. To bolster your argument, you’ve most likely found, or are considering, a reliable accident reconstruction expert to provide their opinion based on their professional background.

However, the opposing counsel will likely use tactics that can throw off your expert, such as making them flustered, or try to downplay their credibility. Additionally, the jury might have a hard time following your expert’s explanations if they do not fully understand the source material.

What can you do to set your accident reconstruction expert up for success in mediation, or while they testify? One successful strategy that civil attorneys are using more often is leveraging an accident reconstruction animation, or a recreated graphic based on their case. To demonstrate their usefulness to your case, we’ve curated three reasons why your expert needs visuals, and gathered real life use cases to show them in action.

Visual Processing Bridges the Knowledge Gap

The brain interprets words to put together a coherent story. If your expert is testifying about car crash physics, mechanical engineering, or another complex topic, it might be hard to visualize. This creates an obstacle for your audience, who may not be able to connect the dots to your preferred conclusion of your case.

Car Crash Animation Still created by Accident Reconstruction Expert

Car crash animation still

Multiple studies have explained the connection between visual information and a person’s comprehension ability. By using pictures as well as words, lawyers can present their cases in ways that interact more effectively with their audiences’ diverse styles of learning. For example, instead of trying to imagine a technical concept based on your expert’s auditory explanation, the jurors can watch the accident with a car crash animation while your expert explains in real time.

The ability of visual aids to increase understanding leaves little room to question whether reconstruction animations can be beneficial to your case. 3D and even 2D visuals used with experts can help the jury understand your case in a faster manner, instead of trying to (possibly incorrectly) imagine it for themselves.

3 Reasons Why Your Crash Reconstruction Experts Need Animation

There are three concrete reasons for attorneys to supply their experts with a visual:

  1. Separate and analyze every point of view
  2. Visualize Right Way, Wrong Way
  3. Explain conflicting expert testimony

Below, we dive into each of these variables and how they can bring success.

Imagine you’re involved in a multi-vehicle car accident case. There’s a significant chance that multiple factors and witnesses will come into play, no matter if you’re the defense or plaintiff counsel. The more people that are testifying, the less clear the whole scene becomes to the court. 

When multiple experts testify with different perspectives, a well-designed animation can pinpoint any inconsistencies. It also highlights irrefutable data such as visibility, speed, or timing. A well-designed accident reconstruction animation will consider several factors, including:

  • Accident reconstruction expert knowledge
  • Laser scan data
  • Vehicle dynamics data
  • Location-based photography

While your accident reconstruction expert can testify to these facts, the realistic animation will put the jury at the scene. The visual aid can also show different perspectives and potential outcomes with adjustments in conditions.

Right Way, Wrong Way cases of vehicle crashes are prime examples for using accident reconstruction animations. While testimony can account for variations of potential outcomes, an animation can present what someone could have done differently to avoid the outcome that happened.

These graphics are helpful for both plaintiff counsel and defense attorneys alike. Each side will make a case with its own evidence and experts who will likely disagree. However, armed with detailed visual support, the story will bring more credibility to your expert’s argument.

Uses Cases of Accident Reconstruction Experts Using Animation in Litigation

It’s no secret that visuals can give experts an edge during litigation. But how are these experts actually using these accident recreation visuals? We’ve outlined two use cases below for quick skimming.

Use Case #1: How the Plaintiff Counsel Used Data Visualizations

In one case, a rear-ended pickup truck driver sued a tanker truck that did not brake in time to prevent a collision. The defense counsel’s argument was that the tanker truck collided with the pickup truck due to a sedan changing lanes ahead.

Motor Vehicle Accident Animation

Data from Google Earth, Good Maps, witness testimony, collision reports, and depositions helped create a realistic crash animation.

By coupling scientifically accurate animations with expert witness testimony, the expert’s analysis negated this argument. The data visualization accompanying the testimony further reinforced that the tanker truck had enough time to break, and thus was liable. 

The result was a nearly seven-figure settlement in favor of the plaintiff.

Use Case #2: How the Defense’s Expert Used Data Visualizations

Animation recreations are useful for both the plaintiff and the defense. When a Chicago city school bus company used accident reconstruction animation as part of its defense, the defendant saw a highly favorable outcome. The cave involved a cyclist failing to brake and was unfortunately run over by a school bus, who did not see the cyclist fall.

Watch the cyclist animation on our YouTube channel!

Sample Demonstrative Evidence Example from Defense Case

The cyclist sued for damages; however, the bus company was able to prove that the cyclist’s own negligence caused the collision. Using a bird’s eye view, physical data, and the bus’s black box, an animation demonstrated how the cyclist was aware of the bus but failed to change course, and thus was responsible for the incident.

Creating the visuals with the data and using them with the expert’s depositions reinforced the defense counsel’s claim that the plaintiff had plenty of time to see the bus.

“The animations were a great visual aid during mediation to show the actions taken by the cyclist. It was vital for settling favorably and avoiding trial.”

– Tom Soule, Attorney at Patton Ryan LLC

Your Accident Reconstruction Expert Benefits From Animation

Witness and expert testimony are often critical tools in accident collision cases. However, the complexity of a collision often results in technical information and conflicting perspectives. In these cases, verbal communication can become confusing or get lost over time.

If you have an accident reconstruction expert that will testify, a visual can bridge the knowledge gap of them and your audience by:

  • Analyze every point of view
  • Demonstrate Right Way, Wrong Way decisions
  • Visualize conflicting expert testimony

Arming your expert helps them appear more credible than the opposing counsel. Cases that use animation along with accident reconstruction experts can not only create a clearer image, but also increase understanding. Both your audience and the opposing counsel may find it harder to object to a well-designed car crash animation or graphic. 

Interested in learning more? Schedule a free consultation regarding your visual needs to give your expert an advantage!

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