To a layperson, car accidents can seem relatively simple, especially if you are clearly not at fault. You may look at a rear-ending accident, for example, and just assume that it is an “easy” case that a jury will award damages for. However, car accident cases can be more complex than they seem and may even involve the use of experts for reasons that you may not think are needed.
Experts When Liability is Clear
In many cases where liability is absolutely clear–say, for example, a rear-ending accident–liability (that is, whether the defendant is negligent or not), won’t be where the heart of the fight is. Rather, the fight will involve the causation and severity of your injuries. The Defendant (specifically, the Defendant’s insurance company) will argue that the accident did not cause your injuries and that your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
Of course, the starting place to look would be your medical records. They, along with your doctor, if he or she needs to testify at trial, will paint a picture of the severity of your injuries. Your doctor is almost always a qualified expert witness to testify in court on your behalf.
The problem is that in most cases, your doctor can’t testify about causation, because that is not his or her field of expertise.
In other words, your doctor can say you have a herniated disc, but not whether the force of the accident and the impact you sustained is enough to cause the herniation. Your doctor can’t look at the damage to your vehicle and say that it evidences enough force to cause a herniation. He or she can’t say that your back twisted with sufficient force in the accident to cause the herniation.
Where Biomechanical Experts Come into Play
Victims often need a biomechanical expert to testify on their behalf because these experts have knowledge of how the body and its tissues move and react in response to certain forces. They are experts in how much stress parts of the body can take before failure. They are experts in both engineering and physiology.
Many such experts have done or are familiar with studies that demonstrate how forces exerted in a car accident can lead to certain types of injuries. They can often support a correlation between damage to your car and damage to your body.
Many biomechanic experts also can read and interpret data that your vehicle stores as you drive, much like a “black box” on an airplane. An Event Data Recorder (EDR) is a device is usually common in newer model cars. Unfortunately, some models allow experts to easily access this information, while others safeguard it and will usually avoid producing it unless compelled to do so by a court.
Don’t assume anyone can handle your car accident case, even if you feel it is an “easy” case. Knowledge and anticipation of the Defendant’s defenses are crucial to obtaining full recovery. Contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your rights.