The science of reconstructing a Road Traffic Collision.


Finding an Expert it is sometimes a tricky choice about who to use.  How do you know who to trust with a high value catastrophic loss case or a Death by Dangerous Driving matter, after all standing on the steps of the Court would be a bad time to find out you have chosen poorly!

I am sure that we have all heard of (or have personal experience of constructing a case around a certain set of parameters) only to find that the Expert has had to concede a number of critical points upon which your case hinged.  Why is that so common, and what can you do about it?

Firstly, I think it is important to understand where your Expert’s experience is likely to have come from.

Typically, Experts in this field come in two distinct categories – Academics or retired experienced Police Officers.

The academic route often deals with the complex analysis and mathematical parts of the discipline exceptionally well.  Often filled full of research papers and robust discussions of physics, however often a little underwhelming with regards to scene process, evidence and that ‘feel’ for a live collision scene.  Alternatively, the Police Officer route, with an understanding of live collision scene that is unparalleled, a strong knowledge of the law, and a confidence in giving live evidence, but perhaps a little vague when it comes to propping up their opinion with cutting edge research or mathematical modelling.

But, what if you didn’t have to choose and could actually have both?

There is a huge strength in an Expert who has not only been at the scene of countless road traffic collisions, responsible for the collection of the evidence and also the same person who has written the academic papers that support the advancements of knowledge in the field.  That is exactly what FCIR pride themselves upon!

We have those Experts that can demonstrate that not only have they ‘seen that happen in real life’, they have also published the academic material that is now being taught to Collision Investigators in the field.  This is what sets FCIR apart.

But it doesn’t stop there, with the advancement in vehicle-based technology marching on at a rate faster than ever, the role of a Collision Investigator is moving away from the conventional measurement of skid marks, to interrogating vehicle airbag modules.  Measuring the locus of a collision is less about the use of a tape measure and more about state of the art 3D laser scanning.  Demonstrating complex collisions to a Court is less about explaining with toy cars and diagrams and more about 3D animations.  CCTV has advanced leaps-and-bounds from the simple, ‘say what you see’ approach to the forensic analysis down to the millisecond – FCIR have specialist equipment to allow for such and analysis – indeed they we were instrumental in the development of the Home Office equipment used by the Police.

When establishing if a motorcycle headlamp was illuminated, why instruct an Expert who would use an optical microscope only, when a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) allows you to scientifically analysis the fracture face of a bulb filament?  Again, FCIR possess this skill set.

These are the types of questions that should be asked when instructing an Expert, to see if they are remaining current and extracting the full amount of information for you – or if this is the Expert you will be meeting on the ‘other side’!

Choosing the right Expert is essential, with significant consequences if the choice is the wrong one.

Ensuring that justice is done and that the Claimants and Defendants situations are accurately put is the keystone of FCIR’s principles.  It is to this end that we offer a free of charge initial review into any matters that our clients may have so that everyone is in a clear position from the beginning.

Mark Crouch
Suite 134,
Capital Business Centre,
Carlton Road,
South Croydon,