Road Traffic Accidents / Collisions
“An accident is a rare, random, multifactor event always preceded by a situation in which one or more road user has failed to cope with their environment.”
Road traffic accidents affect peoples' lives. An accident/collision can be a minor event, resulting in damage and/or minor injury, caused by a momentary lapse in concentration on the part of one or more of the drivers. On the other hand, the consequences of an accident/collision can be very serious, life changing or even fatal, caused by driving that is well below the standard expected.
In general, parties involved or witnesses to road traffic accidents are not prepared for the event. Road traffic accidents differ from other incidents which may be witnessed, in that they occur over a relatively short period of time, as opposed to other types of events or incidents, which can be observed for much longer. Even incidents of violence tend to be observed by onlookers over a considerable period of time when compared to road traffic accidents.
Often in road traffic accidents witnesses will have ‘no axe to grind’ and have no reason to lie, yet on many occasions witnesses give incorrect and contradictory evidence. The estimation of speed, time and distance often causes eye witnesses the most difficulty and estimates are regularly inconsistent with the physical evidence.
The evidence, opinions and reactions of witnesses are often influenced by preconceived ideas, emotions and/or previous experiences. For this reason it is important to obtain expert advice from independent accident investigators, such as ourselves, who can review the physical evidence, compare eye witness testimony to the physical evidence and provide objective advice and conclusions.
One of our regular instructing solicitors states,
"Obtaining expert advice from an experienced collision expert can be crucial."
Focusing on aquitting the innocent and convicting the guilty
"An ‘expert’ in this Part is a reference to a person who is required to give or prepare expert evidence for the purpose of criminal proceedings, including evidence required to determine fitness to plead or for the purpose of sentencing."
With serious driving cases such as Causing Serious Injury or Death by Careless Driving or Dangerous Driving, the court will determine the level of seriousness, usually in three grades and sentence accordingly. We feel that the court should be in a position to examine the full facts and for this reason we would encourage solicitors to consider appointing an expert to review the evidence and report on the case prior to sentencing.
"This duty overrides any obligation to the person from whom experts have received instructions or by whom they are paid."
"Expert evidence shall be restricted to that which is reasonably required to resolve the proceedings."
"Where two or more parties wish to submit expert evidence on a particular issue, the court may direct that the evidence on that issue is to be given by a single joint expert."