Retaining a law firm with the resources to thoroughly investigate the crash, establish the defendant’s liability, and handle a case through litigation will be essential. In this article, we will discuss the methods and tools that are available to help establish the liability of the defendant. Experienced personal injury counsel will provide guidance about gathering evidence and expert witness testimony in support of your case. If you have been seriously injured in an accident, contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
As we have discussed previously, the liability of parties in an intersection accident is often hotly contested. To establish the defendant’s liability, a victim must provide independent objective evidence of the driver’s liability for the crash. Common types of evidence include witness statements, accident reports, photographs and videos, medical reports and phone records. Information gleaned from these sources provide an outside view of the accident and can corroborate the injured party’s account of the incident.
To gather evidence from outside sources, the attorneys involved in the case may use the discovery process. Discovery is a legal process by which lawyers file Requests for Production with the Court and require relevant parties to produce information about the crash. For example, a lawyer may request phone records from the defendant’s cell phone or GPS tracking systems from the car. This data may demonstrate that the driver was texting, was distracted or driving recklessly when the incident took place. These types of facts will form the basis to prove the extent to which the defendant was liable for the accident.
Given the complexities involved in many intersection accidents, it may be necessary to retain an accident reconstructionist to help establish the defendant’s liability. An accident reconstructionist is a specialized type of expert witness who reviews information about the crash to recreate the incident. Information may include the police report, road conditions, weather conditions, car wreckage, vehicle locations, and speeds at the time of the accident. The reconstructionist will issue a report with his opinion of the facts, including an opinion about the cause of the accident.
For example, suppose a driver is injured at a four-way stop sign intersection. The victim claims that the defendant ran the stop sign, which the defendant denies. There are no traffic cameras at the intersection. The dispute is one person’s word against the other. An accident reconstructionist is retained by the plaintiff’s lawyer. After reviewing the damage to the cars, the skid marks at the scene, and the weather conditions, the expert determines that the defendant was likely traveling at 33 miles per hour when the accident occured. If the defendant had actually stopped at the stop sign, it would have been impossible to reach that speed in the middle of the intersection. This report, therefore, would demonstrate that the defendant ran the stop sign.
It is important to note that the defense may also engage its own reconstructionist or other experts. It may be necessary for each party to call their experts as witnesses to testify at trial. A jury will ultimately decide which specialists opinions, if any, accurately depict the facts. The specialized knowledge of the expert witnesses may be a powerful tool in proving liability.
When choosing an attorney to represent you in after a serious accident, it is important to hire someone with experience in personal injury cases and access to experts in accident reconstruction. We suggest selecting a law firm with multiple lawyers and an in-house investigator, with the resources necessary to retain the experts needed to support your case. These recommendations apply regardless of whether the incident took place in Fort Worth, Dallas, or another Texas area.