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Immediate Gathering Of Evidence Critical To Reconstruction Of A Motorcycle Collision

Hixson & Brown in West Des Moines has handled a number of motorcycle collisions that have caused the wrongful death of the motorcycle operator. This often leaves only the operator of the motor vehicle to testify regarding the events leading up to the collision. Often the car or truck driver will place blame on the motorcycle driver for the accident.

For example, the car or truck driver may say they were unable to see the motorcycle in time to avoid the collision because the motorcyclist was speeding. Thus, the family of the motorcyclist is already at a disadvantage attempting to prove that the motor vehicle driver was actually at fault for the collision and the wrongful death.

This is why a family who has lost a loved one due to a motorcycle collision should immediately contact an attorney with experience handling motorcycle accidents and wrongful death cases.

First-Hand Experience Resolving Complex Motorcycle Crash Cases

We recently represented the family of a motorcycle driver who was killed after his motorcycle collided with a Des Moines Independent Community School District bus at an intersection. According to the bus driver, she had entered the intersection after coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. The bus driver claimed that the motorcycle driver must have been exceeding the posted speed of 30 mph and that this prevented the bus driver from seeing the motorcycle prior to entering the intersection.

The bus driver was cited by police for failing to yield the right of way before entering the intersection. However, after a trial to a jury on the traffic ticket, the bus driver was found not guilty.

We were hired to represent the family in a wrongful death civil action against the bus driver and the Des Moines Independent Community School District. The attorneys immediately went to work gathering evidence of the collision. This evidence was crucial in order to determine who was at fault for the collision and the wrongful death of the motorcycle driver. Some of this crucial evidence included:

  1. Photographing of the motorcycle as soon as possible: The attorneys at Hixson & Brown immediately tracked down the motorcycle and hired a private investigator to photograph the motorcycle prior to it being destroyed or sold for salvage. In photographing the motorcycle, particular attention was placed on the bulb of the headlight, scuff or scratch marks on the motorcycle, scuffs on the tires, tire treads, and all areas of damage. It was imperative that the bulb be photographed since the condition of the filament of the bulb could actually show whether or not the bulb was on at the time of impact. Scuff marks, scratches, tire scuffs and other damage areas also contained critical information on braking of the motorcycle and the action of the motorcycle immediately prior to the collision.
  2. Photographing the motorcycle accident scene immediately: We immediately had the entire accident scene photographed and videotaped. This was critical to show any potential visual obstructions encountered by either the bus driver or the motorcycle driver that may have impeded either driver’s view and to show the condition of the roadway surface, including tire skid marks, cuts and scrapes on the road from the motorcycle, the area of the impact and the movement of the vehicles after the collision.
  3. Gathering evidence from video surveillance cameras available: The attorneys at Hixson & Brown immediately secured a copy of the school bus’s onboard video. Although the onboard video only showed the passenger compartment of the school bus, it also revealed objects outside the bus’s windows. Based on the position of objects seen through the bus’s windows while the bus was moving, the video could be utilized to show the speed of the bus, the location of the bus at any point in time as well as the exact time of impact with the motorcycle.

From this information, we were able to prove that the school bus never came to a complete stop at the stop sign before entering the intersection. Additionally, through the use of an accident reconstruction expert, we were able to recreate and animate the events that occurred immediately prior to the motorcycle collision and wrongful death.

The animation of the motorcycle accident revealed the following:

We were able to determine whether or not the wrongful death would have occurred if the bus driver had stopped at the stop sign for just one (1) second prior to entering the intersection. The animation showing a hypothetical one-(1) second stop at the stop sign revealed:

Through a very thorough investigation and the gathering of critical evidence, our team proved that the motorcycle accident and wrongful death would not have occurred if the bus driver had stopped at the stop sign for even one second.

Just eight days after providing the evidence and the video animation of the accident reconstruction to the insurance company, the case settled for $2,000,000. This is an example of why it is critical to immediately contact a lawyer with expertise in handling motorcycle collisions, motorcycle accidents and motorcycle wrongful death claims. Any delay could result in the loss of evidence that might be critical to determining exactly how the motorcycle collision occurred.