We understand when you send a new enquiry to TRL, you may not initially have all the evidence and information available. These tips can help you get the best outcome from an instruction at an early stage.
Please send all new enquiries to email@example.com rather than to experts’ directly – this allows us to carry out a conflict check before any case information is passed to experts.
Letter of instruction
What issues are you looking to address? Different areas may be best covered by separate experts, so by telling us what you anticipate being the main focus points of the case, we can assign it to the most appropriately qualified expert(s). If there is a specific, narrow issue such as a vehicle defect or helmet usage to be addressed, is that your only area of focus, or do you need that to be incorporated as part of a full collision reconstruction report?
Do you have specific Court deadlines you need to adhere to? Depending on an individual expert’s current workload, this can also affect who the case is most appropriately assigned to. If you are making an early enquiry and don’t yet have the case papers, do you have an estimate of when you will be able to instruct? This can help us to roughly schedule the work and contact you for updates at appropriate intervals.
If you aren’t able to provide us with all of the documents initially, do you have a list of the evidence that is likely to exist, or that you are in the process of obtaining? For example, it takes longer to consider 10 witness statements and a police collision investigator’s report than a handwritten basic police report with no photographs. If we can consider the total volume of evidence, it helps us make our estimate more realistic.
With widespread remote working looking likely to continue, electronic documents are ideal. A bookmarked pdf is easy to navigate. If you are unable to email documents, we can provide you details for our secure file transfer site to upload them to.
Please tell us if you specifically require a site visit or a desktop report. If you are unsure, our experts will be able to discuss the case with you and advise whether they think one is worthwhile. If you specifically require a scale plan of the locus, please let us know, as that requires different equipment to a standard site visit to obtain measurements and photographs.
Are the vehicles available for inspection and do you want us to inspect them? Are there any time limitations for inspection? If vehicles are under police retention, can you provide the details for who we need to contact to arrange the inspection? What sort of inspection is required? Are there allegations of contributory mechanical defects, or potential visibility issues with the driver’s lines of sight from inside the vehicle?
Any photographs can help us reconstruct an event. These may be from the police, involved parties, or vehicle photographs in an engineer’s report. Digital copies of the original photographs are preferable, as they will have the most detail – these are the individual jpeg (or similar) files, rather than pdfs. If images have been printed and scanned, please ensure they are scanned at as high a resolution as possible, and in colour.
Scale Plans and Survey Data
Police plans can be vital in establishing measurements from a collision scene. Many police forces now carry out 3D laser scanning of scenes, producing either ‘Riegl’ or ‘Leica’ scan data. If available, the original raw data is often preferable to a scale plan, as it contains more data. If a scale plan is available, the most useful version is a pdf produced electronically by the investigator. If you have been sent a printed copy this can be scanned and sent to us as a pdf, but please note: Scale plans are commonly printed on A3 and scanners often only copy half of the plan. Please check it before sending to make sure we have the whole thing.
If there is CCTV of the incident, tell us, even if you don’t have it yet! The analysis required may be an important factor in deciding which expert is best placed to assist, and may determine what type of measurements we take at the site visit. The original footage is always preferable rather than a ‘screen recording’, or something that has been converted to DVD. This article gives more information on how to provide best evidence in CCTV. If you aren’t able to provide the footage at the initial enquiry stage, a few screenshots can help us decide what sort of analysis will be required and how long it is likely to take.
There has been a huge increase in the use of GPS data recorders in recent years, through mobile phone apps, cycle computers, smart watches and fitness trackers. The data is best provided in as ‘raw’ a format as possible, meaning, for example, a .gpx file showing individual data points. Screenshots should always be a last resort. If unsure of the best way to provide the data, our experts can advise you.
There is a wide range of additional information that can be included in a reconstruction. Skid test data, tachograph data, telematics data, event data recorders, component analysis and more. As a general rule, any data should be provided in its ‘raw’ format (for example, a digital data file rather than a screenshot of the data). We are happy to provide guidance if you are unsure if we can use a particular piece of evidence, or how best to obtain it and provide it to us.
The more information and evidence you can provide to us, the more accurate an estimate we can give you, and the most detailed analysis we can provide.