Excessive speed in one of the most commonly-cited causes of auto accidents, especially those which involve injuries and/or deaths. After all, if you’re driving over the speed limit or too fast for conditions in Illinois, your speed can be a catalyst for an auto accident. You may be unable to stop in time to avoid rear-ending another vehicle at a traffic light. You may lose control of your car wile making a turn or rounding a curve. You may not be able to swerve in time to avoid road debris or another vehicle that is moving into your lane.
It’s easy to tell if you are driving too fast; just look at your speedometer. But after an auto accident, how can you tell if someone else was guilty of excessive speed?
You could ask the other driver about his or her speed, but you’re likely to get an inaccurate answer. Video or photo cameras are helpful, but they aren’t always situated near a crash site. And witnesses really have no way of knowing how fast a vehicle was moving even if they observed the entire collision. Police agencies know all this – which is why they sometimes call on accident reconstruction experts.
These experts use evidence from the accident scene to estimate how fast one or more vehicles was traveling. For example, measuring the length of a skid mark after a collision can give experts an approximate speed at which the vehicle was moving prior to impact. These specialists can also record other factors like road surface type, road incline, and weather conditions to help make their determinations.
But even the most experienced accident construction expert cannot produce an exact figure when it comes to speed. Furthermore, these experts (like those in any field) have varying levels of competency and experience; meaning that the potential for error can also vary from person to person. In other words, entirely possible for two accident reconstruction specialists to view the same evidence and come up with two different conclusions.
Such experts are also often hampered by a lack of evidence from which to determine the speed of the motorists. Sometimes, evidence gets removed or washed away before the expert can begin reconstructing the crash. Other times, there simply isn’t enough available data given the type of collision (like when two cars swerve into the same lane). Therefore, while accident reconstruction experts can be helpful, their craft is by no means an exact science.
This is why it is essential to have a qualified auto accident attorney handling your case. If an accident reconstruction expert claims that you were driving too fast before a collision, there are ways that a competent attorney can dispute that finding. So don’t try to handle an auto accident claim yourself – contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
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