Traffic Signal Phasing Diagram

Can an Accident Reconstructionist Help Prove Your Personal Injury Claim?

This month’s blog post focuses on instances where a driver is involved in a car accident that was not their fault, and then the other driver tries to blame the car accident on them!  When we receive calls from people in car accidents that are going through this unfortunate experience often their first question is, “what can we do?” Generally, there are many ways to address a situation where the other driver in a car accident tries to shift the blame wrongfully. Sometimes, you may have photographs of the damage to each vehicle, which do not line up with the other driver’s story.  Other times, some people independently witness a car accident and can corroborate your side of the story. However, some car accidents have no witnesses or other evidence that can help.  In such cases, fault often becomes your word versus theirs. In car accidents such as these, an accident reconstructionist may be able to provide the evidence that’s needed.  The remainder of this post describes what exactly an accident reconstructionist is, and how we utilize their expertise to prove which driver in a car accident was at fault.

What is an Accident Reconstructionist?

So, what exactly is an accident reconstructionist? An accident reconstructionist is an expert at vehicular accident reconstruction.  Vehicular accident reconstruction is the scientific process of investigating and analyzing the available information from a collision to form a conclusion regarding the cause of a car accident. Accident reconstructionists undergo training and take many courses so that they can become proficient at subjects such as kinematics, work-energy methods, and conservation of linear momentum. These courses of education allow the accident reconstructionist not only to determine who may have been at fault for a collision but also things such as the speed of the vehicles at the time of the car accident.  Often when a car accident occurs in an intersection, one of the first pieces of evidence an accident reconstructionist will exam is a traffic signal phasing diagram.

What are Signal Phasing Diagrams?

Signal phasing diagrams have been instrumental in assisting juries to come to a determination as to which driver is at fault in a car accident.  An example of such a scenario is as follows:

Signal phasing diagrams are used by accident reconstructionists

An example of a signal phasing diagram used by an accident reconstructionist.

Example: It is early morning and a driver (Driver 1) is proceeding down a main road in Seal Beach, CA.  On this Seal Beach road, Driver 1 notices that all the lights in front of him are green. Driver 1 proceeds towards the intersection of a cross street.  At the same time, another driver (Driver 2) is traveling down a cross street on his way to work. As Driver 2 approaches the intersection of the well-known road, he has nobody in front of him and believes he sees a green light to proceed.  The two drivers unaware of one another, enter the intersection at the same time and collide in a violent “t-bone” car accident.  Both claim they had a green light.  So which driver is at fault?  At trial, an accident reconstructionist tells the jury that he was able to obtain a traffic signal phasing diagram for the intersection from the city of Seal Beach. The reconstructionist then states that based on his review of the phasing diagram, the main road was set to always have a green light at that time of day – unless traffic from the cross street indicated another car needed to cross.  For the cross street to have a green, a driver on the cross street would need to drive over the road loop at the entrance of the intersection, wait three seconds for the light to change from red to green, and then could proceed. Therefore, based on Driver 2’s testimony that prior to entering the intersection there was nobody in front of him, it was impossible that his light was always green as he described.  A jury is then able to use this information and conclusively determine that Driver 2 ran the red light.  Driver 2 was therefore negligent and responsible for Driver 1’s injuries.

Without the aid of an accident reconstructionist in the case mentioned above, that situation would be nothing more than “he said she said” and justice may be lost

As is apparent, an accident reconstructionist can be vital to a car accident case where two drivers each claim the other was at fault.  Sometimes if a car accident results in serious injuries or death, a local police force may employ a trained accident reconstructionist to investigate the scene. However, frequently, only an untrained officer responds to the scene and creates a basic traffic collision report. In the latter situation, it may become necessary to retain the services of your own accident reconstruction expert to prove your case.

What is important to remember is that if you’ve been involved in a car accident and the other driver wrongfully claims that you caused the car accident, do not give up hope, there may be another way to prove who is at fault!

If You Have Been in a Car Accident, Contact a Local Huntington Beach Car Accident Lawyer Right Away!

If you have been in a car accident, call a personal injury attorney right away. Make sure that you gather all of the other drivers’ auto insurance information.  No one article can cover everything that people should know after a car accident.  Additionally, car accidents with liability disputes present unique legal challenges.  There are many local Huntington Beach car accident lawyers, Seal Beach car accident lawyers, and Long Beach car accident lawyers that can help.  Most personal injury lawyers can also assist if you are a family member with wrongful death claims for a loved one.  Contact a lawyer right away to protect your personal injury or wrongful death statute of limitations.  Don’t let an insurance company lowball your demand for reimbursement of medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering. Ensure that you receive full justice for your insurance claims!

The information contained in this post is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this post, or website, should be taken as legal advice for any individual or case situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Contact us If you have lost a loved one or have pain and suffering from a personal injury.  For more information, visit our wrongful death page and car accidents page. For a free consultation, please reach out to our attorneys to arrange a time to discuss your case.  All you have to do is hit the big blue button labeled Contact Us at the top of this page!

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