FAQ – Accident Investigation and Reconstruction in Columbus & Central Ohio

Q: What Is the Difference Between Accident Investigation and Accident Reconstruction?

A:  Accident investigation is the collection of evidence related to an automobile crash. In Ohio, the investigation is typically conducted by law enforcement officers soon after the crash occurs. Those officers undergo training in accident investigation, and some of them also take courses in accident reconstruction.

Accident reconstruction is the use of scientific methods to evaluate the collected evidence and determine the cause of the accidents. In Ohio, the reconstruction is typically conducted by a reconstructionist employed by the government but is sometimes conducted by a private accident reconstructionist. Accident reconstructionists undergo training in both accident investigation and accident reconstruction. Some reconstructionists are certified by organizations like ACTAR: the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Reconstructionists.

Q: What Types of Evidence Are Collected in an Accident Investigation?

A: During an accident investigation, the investigators collect many types of evidence. The evidence collected may include: physical evidence, witness statements, driver conditions, vehicle conditions, road conditions, and vehicle location points. The investigators usually take measurements and draw diagrams of the accident scene. The investigation is also documented in written reports, photographs, audio recordings, and video recordings.

Q: How Does an Accident Reconstructionist Determine the Accident Cause?

A: An accident reconstructionist reviews all the evidence collected by the accident investigator(s). That evidence includes diagrams, measurements, photographs, audio recordings, video recordings, witness statements, and written reports. The reconstructionist applies algebraic equations, computer-assisted formulas, and sometimes computer simulations, to ascertain how the crash occurred. The reconstructionist also considers mechanical defects , human factors, and crash site conditions which may have contributed to the collision. The reconstructionist may also analyze data from the vehicles’ electronic data recorders (‘black boxes’).

Q: What Is the ‘Black Box’ Used in Accident Reconstruction?

A: The ‘black box’ is an electronic data recorder. Those devices receive information from the automobile’s various systems, such as the engine, transmission, brakes, electronic sensors, airbags, and seat belts. Many vehicles now have electronic data recorders, although the extent of information saved by the data recorder various among vehicles. The vehicle’s systems are constantly sending data to the electronic data recorder, and the information is saved when there is a collision. The information from the electronic data recorder is downloaded and integrated into a report. The most common software used for this purpose was developed by Bosch, so the ‘black box’ reports are often called ‘Bosch Reports’.

Q: How Does an Accident Reconstructionist Use ‘Black Box’ Reports?

A: A report from an electronic data recorder contains many types of data. Depending on which automotive company manufactured the vehicle, the reports may contain information regarding vehicle speed, engine speed, brake application, airbag deployment, and seat belt use. An accident reconstructionist reviews the ‘black box’ report and uses the report’s information to determine the actions or inactions of the driver, the vehicle condition, and other circumstances to reach conclusions about how the collision occurred. Ultimately, the reconstructionist will issue a report with a conclusion regarding the cause(s) of the accident.

Lawyers For Serious Vehicular Crimes in Columbus and Central Ohio

The lawyers at the Dominy Law Firm represent clients charged with Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Homicide in Columbus and Central Ohio. They authored and edited the Ohio Vehicular Assault Guide and the Ohio Vehicular Homicide Guide. Our attorneys understand how to defend serious vehicular crimes involving accident investigation and reconstruction. If you are facing a charge of Vehicular Assault or Vehicular Homicide in central Ohio and would like to talk with our firm about representation, you can schedule a free phone consultation by submitting a CONTACT FORM or by calling 614-717-1177 .

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