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Car Accident Trial Questions

HomeCar Accidents – Trial Questions

Car Accident Trial Questions

A motor vehicle accident often occurs in the blink of an eye, quite possibly resulting in serious injury or even death. For an attorney reconstructing such an event means getting the details from all parties involved. In a vehicular accident, liability is established by breaking the incident down into three phases: Pre-impact, Impact and Post Impact. Each phase listed below comes with a series of interrogatory questions.   These questions are directed at the five major players involved in the reconstruction: the drivers, passengers, civilian witnesses, the police and expert witnesses. Below are the 3 phases, the factors that make up the phases, as well as sample questions to show how this information will be collected.

DRIVERS/PASSENGERS:

Before asking drivers and occupants about the details of an accident they must be qualified. Drivers and occupants are qualified by asking a series of questions regarding their driving history as well as other information. After qualification, more specific questions pertaining to the collision are asked.

Qualifying Questions     

Are you a licensed driver of a motor vehicle?

Pre-Impact

Road Surface, Weather

Can you recall the weather at the time (Was there fog, was it raining)?

Lighting

Did you observe any street lights in the area?

Traffic  

Can you describe the traffic in the area you were traveling in?

Traffic Control  

When the other vehicle approached the intersection, what color was the traffic light?

Speed Estimates             

At what speed did you observe other vehicles traveling at just prior to the accident?

Path of Vehicles              

What direction were you traveling in at the time of the collision?

Erratic Motion  

Did the vehicle turn suddenly to one side or the other?

Evasive Action  

What did you do when you first observed the other vehicle in the intersection?

Impact

Engagement     

Can you describe what you observed as the cars collided?

Rotation during Impact 

Can you recall if your vehicle began spinning as you were struck?

Separation from Impact               

Do you know if your car was moving after the initial impact?

Post-Impact

Final Rest Position          

What was the first thing you recall seeing after exiting your vehicle?

Statements       

Did you speak to any of the drivers prior to giving your statement to the police?

Driver Identification

Did you tell the officer who had been driving the car when you first saw it?         

WITNESSES:

Much like drivers and occupants, civilian witnesses are asked similar qualifying questions. Once qualified, the questions go into deeper detail as to their account of the collision. Civilian witnesses often provide a point of view necessary in reconstructing the event.

Qualifying Questions     

Do you wear corrective eyewear?

Pre-Impact

Road Surface, Weather

Do you recall where you were located when you observed the collision?

Lighting

Do you recall where the sun was in relation to your car?

Traffic  

Was there any construction taking place that diverted traffic from its normal path?

Traffic Control  

Were the travel lanes separated by markings on the road?

Speed Estimates

Did you form an opinion as to the speed of the other vehicle?   

Path of Vehicles              

Did you notice any other motor vehicles in the area of the collision?

Erratic Motion  

Did any of the vehicles cross over the center line of the road at any time?

Evasive Action  

Did you hear either car honk its horn?

Impact

Engagement     

What did you do immediately after the collision?

Rotation during Impact 

Did you observe the vehicles at the moment of impact?

Separation from Impact               

Do you recall if either of the cars hit the guard rail after the collision?

Post-Impact

Final Rest Position          

Were there any bodies on the road or anywhere else?

Statements

After the collision, did a police officer approach you?     

Driver Identification       

Before the collision, did you see the vehicle?

POLICE:

Police Officers also go through qualifying questions often regarding their rank and specific training that pertains to vehicular accidents. Sometimes Police Officers are in a unique position to obtain information that other witnesses may not be privy to that is contemporaneous to the accident.

Qualifying Questions

What is your rank in the police department?

Pre-Impact

Road Surface, Weather

Do you recall your ability to see the road clearly as you approached the scene of the accident?

Lighting

Were the headlights in your vehicle on as you approached the scene of the collision?

Traffic

Can you recall how heavy the flow of traffic was as you conducted your investigation?

Traffic Control

Were the traffic control devices malfunctioning in anyway?

Path of Vehicles

Based on your training and experience, can you explain where the point of impact was?

Erratic Motion

As a police officer, did you look for any evidence of erratic behavior of the vehicle prior to the collision?

Evasive Action

Were there any tire marks on the road surface at the scene of the collision?

Impact

Point of Impact

What factors assist you in determining where the point of impact is located?

Engagement

Did you create any sketches or drawings of how the vehicles were positioned at the time of the collision?

Vehicle Damage

Did you examine the vehicles for damage?

Paint Transfers

Did you send any paint samples to the laboratory?

Rotation during impact

Was there any evidence indicating the vehicles had rotated during the collision?

Separation from Impact

Before you arrived to make measurements, were the vehicles or bodies moved?

Post-Impact

Road Grade

Did you measure the gradient of the road were the skid marks were located?

Skid Marks, Drag Factor

How did you measure the length of the skid marks?

Yaw Marks

Were you able to determine the critical speed for the curve from the yaw marks?

Final Rest Position

Approximately how long after the collision did you arrive at the scene?

Incidental Damage

Was there any evidence that would indicate there may have been a secondary impact?

Vault

Was there any evidence indicating either vehicle vaulted?

Vehicle Inspection

At the time of examination, where was the vehicle located?

Location of Witnesses

Upon your arrival on the scene, was anyone else there other than the occupants of the vehicles involved in the collision?

Driver Identification

How were you able to identify who had been driving at the time of collision?

EXPERT WITNESS:

Expert witnesses go through a similar class of qualifying questions as police officers do. They are asked questions relating to their education, employment and expertise in the area. Expert witnesses look objectively at the circumstances. Their opinions and conclusions are based on science and technology.

Qualifying Questions

How long have you been employed as an accident Reconstructionist?

Pre-Impact

Road Surface, Weather

At the location of the collision, were there any defects in the road?

Lighting

Did you identify the location of street lights in your report?

Traffic

In your report, were any comments made about the traffic flow at the scene?

Traffic Control

Did you observe any “No Passing” signs in the area where the collision took place?

Path of Vehicles

Was there any physical evidence indicating how the vehicle moved before or after the collision?

Erratic Motion

Did you observe any scuff marks at the scene?

Visibility

In the intersection, were there any obstructions in your view?

Evasive Action

Can you describe some evasive actions a driver can initiate?

Impact

Point of Impact

Were any debris found at the scene that had come from the vehicles involved in the collision?

Engagement

Can you describe how the vehicles came together in this collision?

Vehicle Damage              

What was the location of the vehicles when you inspected them for damage?

Paint Transfer   

Did you diagram the vehicles to indicate where the paint transfers occurred?

Rotation during Impact 

Was the amount of rotation that resulted from this particular conclusion measured?

Separation from Impact               

Were you able to use tire marks found on the road for any calculations of speed?

Post-Impact

Grade, Elevation

Based on your experience, would you call the gradient at this point, significant?

Skid Marks, Drag Factor

Were the actual tires from the vehicle in the accident used to measure the friction between the tires and the road?

Incidental Damage

Was there any physical evidence indicating either vehicle had struck a fixed barrier?

Vehicle Inspection

How long after the collision did your examination take place?

Driver Identification

Did you find any physical evidence to determine who the driver had been?

 


Quick Florida Car Accident Facts:

According to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, for example, in 2009 statewide there were 20,085 alcohol related traffic accidents resulting in 1,004 deaths and 14,130 injuries. Additionally, damages from auto crashes total $150 billion annually because compensation for a car accident, in most cases, includes recovery of medical expenses, property damage, lost wages and lost earning potential, pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of consortium and emotional distress. Learn more from Alan Sackrin, an expert car accident lawyer.

Want to Know More?

Since 1982, Alan Sackrin has represented clients throughout Florida in recovering monetary damages for car accident injuries. Alan is a Board Certified Civil Trial Expert that strives to maximize the amount of compensation his clients’ receive for their claim.  Alan brings a high-level of skill and knowledge to his client’s car accident cases and he offers a free initial consultation.

 

See: Sample Case Verdicts and Settlements

 

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