The first thing a lawyer can do in a rollover crash is to go out at the scene of the accident and discover if there is something on the road, on the median, on the shoulder of the road, in the bank the vehicle rolled down, that caused it to trip or to roll over.
Certain types of vehicles are not designed effectively and when they encounter a typical roadway surface, they roll over. We will immediately look at the vehicle if it has been preserved, and that is something necessary in every case as the vehicle is key evidence. We measure, we take pictures, we videotape and look at the dimensions of the vehicle itself. We look at the tires, the roof, the internal components, including the seat belts and other safety features.
We also do a download of the electronic data recorder, to determine what electronic information is available. That information is very important and it can tell us if the vehicle was driven at the speed limit if the people in the car were wearing seat belts, and if the airbags deployed as they are supposed to. We can determine if the brakes were used before, during, or after the accident. Sometimes, from the electronic data, we can even determine the orientation of the vehicle.
We gather all these evidence from the accident case and we talk to the engineers. Typically, we use a reconstructionist engineer, a mechanical engineer, and a biomechanical engineer. These types of engineering specialties deal with what happens to a vehicle as it rolls over. They can establish what are the dynamics of the vehicle in terms of what is happening to the passengers, what is happening to the driver, how was the driver interacting with the seatbelt or the airbag.
We'll try to determine if the vehicle is unstable, if the tires had any problems, if there are yaw marks on the road; we look at guardrails and at different aspects of the road; we talk with any witnesses. We try to go back in time and recreate the accident so we understand what occurred.
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