How Can Drones Help with Accident Reconstruction?

How Can Drones Help with Accident Reconstruction?One of the most important pieces of a personal injury claim is evidence. A strong amount of evidence bolsters a case, shows fault, and helps prove that you were the victim of another individual’s negligent actions. Further, after a serious accident, it can be hard to remember the events that led up to the crash and who or what was at fault. Witnesses might give conflicting information and, if you suffered serious injuries, you may not remember anything at all.

When authorities are unsure of how a car crash or collision occurred, they call on accident reconstruction experts. Accident reconstruction is the process of investigating a car or truck crash and analyzing the various factors and causes that led to the accident. Often, an accident reconstruction expert works in tandem with your personal injury attorney to determine and prove fault after a car wreck.

After a car crash, authorities and reconstruction experts gather and collect evidence right at the site of the accident. Although accurate, this process is historically time-consuming and statistically results in secondary crashes from rubbernecking and snarled traffic. However, recent advances in technology have allowed reconstruction experts to begin using drones to make the process faster and more efficient.

What is an accident reconstruction expert?

Accident reconstruction experts are trained individuals who use a variety of methods to determine how a traffic accident occurred. This could be a car, truck, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident – anything involving a motor vehicle. Generally, an accident reconstruction expert is called to the scene of a crash immediately or as soon as possible after it happens, so they can document the evidence while it’s still fresh and undisturbed from activity.

What does a St. Louis accident reconstruction expert look for?

According to the Expert Institute, accident reconstruction experts will gather and evaluate “evidence such as tire marks, impact marks, roadway surfaces, metal debris, and airbag control modules (the ‘black boxes’ which sometimes store data on speed and other variables).”

They will also inspect the vehicle or vehicles involved in the wreck, which can help determine things like the speed and angle of the impact. The Expert Institute also notes that a “vehicle may also contain human hair, skin, and blood that can provide insight as to the driver and passenger movement.”

Reconstruction experts traditionally use tools like tape measures, pencils and paper, and cameras to record the scene of an accident. They will note skid marks, accident debris, and other evidence from the crash. This can take a lot of time. However, the outcome of a successful accident reconstruction can give an expert a reasonable amount of evidence to form accurate opinions about a collision, including:

  • Driver speed
  • Driver action or inaction before a crash
  • Road visibility
  • Driver reaction or lack of reaction to an incident

Your St. Louis injury attorney can work with an accident reconstruction expert to testify on your behalf when you’re harmed by the actions of a negligent or reckless driver.

Why use drones with accident reconstruction?

According to a study from Purdue University, traffic backups caused by car wrecks are one of the primary causes of secondary accidents. What this means is that serious accidents often cause chain reaction accidents from the traffic problems that crop up from the initial crash. In fact, Purdue researchers stated that “secondary crashes go up by a factor of almost 24 during the time that highway safety officials are assessing and documenting [a] crash site.” Further? Chances of a secondary crash rise by three percent every minute the original crash scene is active.

An accident reconstruction expert may need anywhere from three to eight hours to completely document all evidence of a serious car or truck crash. However, the longer these personnel, along with first responders and other authorities, are on the scene, the higher the risk they will be injured in a secondary collision.

Drone technology, however, can cut down on the time needed to document an accident. Purdue researchers state that a drone can plot out an accident scene in five to eight minutes, using camera and digital technology to record visuals that are later transformed into three-dimensional diagrams or models. This allows authorities to drastically cut down on the time needed to collect evidence, and open the roads more quickly.

One Indiana county is already using drone technology with great success. The Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with Purdue University, utilized drones to map out crash sites 20 times over the year 2018, and found they cut 60 percent off the usual traffic backup time following a car wreck. You can watch a video about the technology and their findings on YouTube.

Captain Robert Hainje of the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office pointed out the other advantages of drones, saying, “The collaboration with Purdue faculty and students has been tremendously effective in helping our law enforcement, first responders and special teams. The drone technology with the thermal imaging capability helps with all types of emergencies such as search and rescue, aerial support over water for diver teams or in wooded areas and for fugitive apprehension.”

If you were injured in a car crash, contact The Hayden Law Firm for experienced representation. We can work to collect evidence to build a strong case on your behalf, and ensure you are entitled to fair and proper compensation for your injuries. Let us help with your injury claim. Call us today at 314-798-9942 to schedule a free, no-risk consultation. You can also complete our contact form. We serve the greater St. Louis area and Illinois.