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Issue of liability often rests on accident reconstruction

Residents of Iowa who have been injured in auto accidents that involve hard-to-identify circumstances may be interested to learn of the following news story. According to a recent news article, the issues of potential liability and possible criminal charges in connection with vehicle accidents often hinge on the findings of professional accident reconstruction specialists.

Such an investigation took place in the city of Yonkers, New York due to an incident that occurred on Oct. 11. Two teenagers were struck by an out-of-control Jeep while the vehicle was leaving a parking lot at a church carnival. The older girl was killed and her sister was left critically injured. A team of reconstruction experts hoped to answer the questions of how and why the tragic event happened.

The Yonkers Police Department has its own reconstruction team, and the New York State Police Department employs a team of 15 on a full-time basis. In addition, the department also employs 75 qualified investigators available to assist other police departments on an as-needed basis. The Yonkers investigation was expected to determine the extent to which human, mechanical or environmental factors played a part. According to the Yonkers police commissioner, results were expected to take several weeks.

Car accidents involving the sudden acceleration of the vehicle are believed to be more common than many people realize. Some have been caused by mechanical issues such as a floor mat leaning against a brake or accelerator pedal. Others may be caused by human error, such as mistaking or mixing up the pedals. When liability is determined, steps may be taken to hold the at-fault party responsible.

Source: USA Today, "The science of reconstructing a freak accident", Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, Hoa Nguyen, October 18, 2013

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