Nature of the Incident
TRL’s Expert Witness and Investigations team was instructed by a leading law firm to investigate a serious traffic accident between two vehicles that had occurred on a rural road in Lancashire. TRL’s client was acting on behalf of the driver of a motor car (V2), which had collided head-on with another motor car (V1). The V2 driver had reported that V1 unexpectedly crossed into his lane, suddenly and for no apparent reason, and that he had been unable to avoid a collision. There were no independent witnesses to the incident and, although emergency services had attended, no police reports were available to help TRL’s Expert Witness and Investigation Team to assess the case.
As a result of the crash, an 18-month old passenger in V1 was airlifted to hospital and the driver of the car was hospitalised for a month, followed by three months of rehabilitation at a facility. The seriousness of the injuries was an indicator that any financial claim against V2 driver’s insurers may be substantial, should liability be determined against him.
The client asked for an inspection of the accident scene and an examination of V2 to be carried out urgently in order that a fast-track initial direction of the investigation could be established. TRL’s rapid response to the client’s request meant that our Expert was able to find and examine evidence still at the scene.
When our Expert Witness visited the collision scene he found that significant evidence was still present, even fluid stains on the road surface that helped him to establish the point of impact between the vehicles. The ephemeral nature of this kind of evidence means that it quickly disappears and is rarely available to investigators other than the police. Our rapid response allowed our Expert to find this evidence and then use it to help him form an informed opinion about the circumstances of the crash.
Furthermore, we found that markings made by police Collision Investigators were also present on the road surface. Our Expert’s training and experience meant that he was able to correctly interpret these markings and therefore establish the post-collision positions of the vehicles. This proved to be crucial in reporting to our client a strong indication of the likely direction of any further investigation into the circumstances of the crash.
An examination of V2 was carried out on the same day as the scene inspection. Again, the quick turnaround of this part of the investigation meant that a full report could be made rapidly to the client, as well as allowing the vehicle to be released from storage. The examination of V2 revealed some minor faults but none that were believed to have contributed to the collision.
Overall the our Expert’s view was that the driver of V1 had inexplicably crossed the road into the path of V2, which was proceeding correctly, and that there were no contributory faults found with V2. The resulting report to our client therefore gave them an early indication of where liability was likely to be apportioned and assisted them in planning their case strategy.
Press reports later stated that the driver of V1 pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious injury and was given a 20-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with a two-year driving ban.