The Evolution of Technology in Personal Injury Investigations
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In the realm of personal injury investigations, the role of technology has undergone a remarkable transformation. Gone are the days when private investigators relied solely on traditional methods and instinct to build compelling cases.
The Impact of Technology on Personal Injury Investigations
The integration of technology into personal injury investigations has significantly expanded the scope of evidence collection and reconstruction. By leveraging advanced tools and techniques, investigators can uncover hidden details, identify responsible parties, and ultimately seek justice for their clients.
In this article, we will delve into the transformative impact of technology on personal injury investigations, with a particular focus on motor vehicle accident cases.
The Numbers on Vehicle Accidents
Before we explore the role of technology in personal injury investigations, let's take a look at some statistics on vehicle accidents. In the United States alone, there are over six million reported car accidents annually, which translates to approximately 16,500 accidents daily.
Alarmingly, about six percent of these accidents result in at least one fatality, while nearly two million people sustain permanent, non-fatal injuries each year due to vehicle accidents. California and Texas consistently rank highest in accident frequency.
The Importance of Independent Investigations
In many traffic-related cases, establishing liability hinges on capturing evidence immediately after the accident. While law enforcement agencies conduct their investigations, conducting independent work is crucial.
While police reports are valuable, they can be prone to errors or overlook essential evidence. These reports typically focus on human factors but may overlook contributing elements like malfunctioning streetlights, obscured road signs, inadequate lane markings, or the absence of road delineations.
Additionally, investigations may not delve into potential governmental factors, especially in cases involving pedestrians. However, these factors can significantly impact liability.
To effectively navigate personal injury cases involving vehicle accidents, investigators have developed a comprehensive checklist. This checklist includes the prompt issuance of preservation-of-evidence letters, thorough vehicle inspections and photographs, and research on potential product liability issues related to airbags, braking systems, seatbelts, cruise control, and more.
Accessing the vehicle's Event Data Recorder (EDR), which has been mandatory in all new cars sold in the U.S. since 2014, can also provide valuable data about the accident.
The Power of Drones in Accident Scene Investigations
Drones have become increasingly common tools in accident scene investigations. Not only do they enable police to gather crash-scene data efficiently, but they also help clear the scene faster and optimize officer resources.
Drones are equally vital in legal-support investigations, offering a bird's-eye view of accident sites that capture critical evidence, including road markings, skid marks, impact points, and more.
Pilots, who are FAA licensed to operate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), fly drones several hundred feet above the accident scene while a second person maintains visual contact on the ground.
The drone captures high-resolution photographs in a grid pattern, which are processed through photogrammetry software to create precise 3D models of the scene. These models reveal terrain features, infrastructure, skid marks, and police markings accurately.
The Strength of 3D Scans in Accident Reconstructions
Traditional accident investigations often rely on subjective decisions regarding what evidence to document, which may inadvertently overlook critical details. However, advanced technology such as FARO scans offers a solution.
A FARO scanner records thousands of data points per second at the scene, creating a detailed "point cloud" that captures all objects within its view. It provides precise measurements, distances, shapes, and more. With multiple scans, a comprehensive reconstruction of the accident scene can be achieved, even after the fact.
FARO scans are increasingly used by police agencies, especially in fatal highway accidents. These scans are instrumental in recreating accident scenes accurately and comprehensively, providing invaluable data for personal injury cases.
Presenting Evidence with Visual Impact
In today's legal landscape, judges and juries expect high-tech presentations in the courtroom. The effectiveness of visuals cannot be overstated. Combining drone videos and HD images with FARO images creates immersive, animated visuals that engage the jury.
These technologies enable 3D sight lines, allowing the jury to follow the sequence of impacts and better understand the case.
While technology plays a significant role, experienced investigators still rely on fundamental investigative tools such as on-site assessments, witness interviews, and preservation of evidence. The human element remains indispensable in gathering critical information.
The evolution of technology in personal injury investigations has revolutionized the field, expanding the capabilities of investigators to gather critical evidence and reconstruct accident scenes.
By integrating advanced tools and techniques, investigators can uncover hidden details, identify responsible parties, and ultimately seek justice for their clients. As technology continues to advance, investigators need to stay abreast of the latest innovations to provide the best possible outcomes for personal injury cases.
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