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Rehab Conference 2024: accident reconstruction in personal injury claims

By Charlotte Henshall

Published In: Personal Injury, Brain and Spinal Injury

We recently hosted our rehabilitation conference, which focused on the story of ‘Steve’ – a claimant who suffered a road traffic accident.

The conference was opened by Claire Baker, Research Associate at the Dyson School of Design Engineering. Claire set the scene, explaining what happened to ‘Steve’ and how accident reconstruction can help inform the litigation journey.

Claire commented: “Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a leading cause of death and disability worldwide and nearly one in three are caused by road traffic collisions.”

Personal injury claims can be very complicated, especially when determining liability for the claim. Accident reconstruction specialists, such as Claire, can help analyse evidence from the scene to determine what happened and who was at fault.

What is accident reconstruction?

When speaking about her research into understanding injury biometrics and mitigating the consequences of road traffic collisions through research and design, Claire expressed the importance of collision reconstruction.

Accident reconstruction specialists will analyse the position of vehicles, skid marks, and damage to determine the cause of the accident. They can also recreate the accidents using computer programmes to illustrate what happened. This can then be used as evidence in court.

The data she collects might also include incident reports, medical reports, CCTV, dash camera footage, site visits, photographs, motor sensor data, and information on pre-existing injuries.

Most remarkably, Claire has conducted research into damage caused to helmets which has enabled her to reconstruct collisions and understand resulting injuries when the only evidence is a helmet.

Why is accident reconstruction important for personal injury claims?

Following ‘Steve’s’ story, Claire explained the circumstances of his injury resulting from a road traffic accident when ‘Steve’ was crossing the road. Using the data collected to reconstruct the incident, Claire was able to identify damage to the bonnet and windscreen of the motor vehicle and how the injuries sustained fit with the vehicle damage.

Using accident reconstruction, solicitors can more clearly understand what happened and who was at fault for the accident. It can also help understand and explain the injuries caused. This can help support the litigation process and determine the compensation the claimant may receive.

With regards to ‘Steve’s’ story, Claire could reconstruct the whole incident using the varying parameters, to give a full view of the accident. For example, she varied the parameters to see the differences when comparing whether ‘Steve’ was walking or running across the road. She could also consider the make and model of the vehicle to better understand how the person interacted with the car’s surface.

Claire explained how crash tests with a dummy can be very expensive and create quite limited possibilities compared to a virtual reconstruction. With the use of this technology there are almost unlimited possibilities. For example, moving the position of the person or the speed of the vehicle to create a range of parameters as exampled above.

What are the benefits of accident reconstruction?

In effect, all of this evidence can be collected to understand the injuries and long-term outcomes of road traffic collisions with the aim of applying this to future incidents and mitigating the consequences. This can be done by looking at the effects on the brain using scans, acceleration data and strains to the veins in the brain. They can then collate that information to predict injuries and long- term implications to assist with treatment and rehabilitation.

Post-crash care can vary. Using case examples and applying research can develop the understanding of different types of collision and incident, which can help improve the emergency response that is received from SOS systems that are now being installed in new cars. This could help then determine who is required to attend the scene of an accident and where injured people may need to be transported for the most appropriate care.  

Accident reconstruction can help provide clarity for legal disputes and assist in determining liability. It can help all those involved in personal injury claims to make informed decisions and ensure a fair compensation is awarded. Additionally, it can help to prevent future accidents by identifying risk factors. Accident reconstruction specialists can recommend changes to road design, traffic controls, and motor function.

Vehicle technology can also be influenced by this research, informing airbag development, crash notification systems, GPS, and case sensor development.

Claire comments: “More must be done to protect vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians. This could include vulnerable road user-friendly vehicle designs and segregated infrastructure for vulnerable road users.”

With all this in mind Claire's research can improve incident mitigation and intervention to prevent accidents all together and, or reduce the long-term consequences, such as serious brain injury.

Find out how Switalskis can help you

Don't navigate the complexities of a brain injury claim alone. Put your trust in Switalskis' expertise and 
compassionate service. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation with our specialist brain 
injury solicitors
. Call us on 0800 138 0458  or email


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Charlotte is a trainee solicitor gaining a wide range of experience in different departments throughout the firm.

Trainee Solicitor

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