Car accidents are just that - accidents. Attorneys who help clients injured in car accidents realize that nobody intentionally gets involved in a crash. Still, when assessing the events leading to an accident and determining liability, car accident lawyers must consider how drivers respond during these events and whether their responses were preventive.
To analyze a driver’s automatic, emergency responses and whether a valid attempt was made to avoid a crash, attorneys and forensics experts look at three main factors: response time, choice, and magnitude.
1. Speed of Response
The first detail that car accident attorneys must consider when investigating accident causation and liability is driver response time. Expected response times can be calculated based on the conditions during the crash, driver perception of the hazard, and environmental factors along with other details. Lawyers find that reaction times can differ greatly with each driver based on many variables.
By interpreting all of the facts and variables, experts can generate a formula based on extensive study information to suggest a normal reaction time for the conditions that were present at the time of a crash. The actual reaction times during car accidents are then compared to these figures to determine whether driver reactions were slow.
2. Appropriate Response Choice
The next factor that car accident lawyers must consider in each situation is whether the driver responded appropriately considering the circumstances. Crash experts find that drivers can be expected to respond in certain ways based on the hazards present, which they must quickly analyze and react to. Reactions that are the opposite of what most drivers would do come into question and require further investigation by attorneys.
Car accident attorneys know that the judgment of appropriate response choice can be subjective when analyzed after the fact. As a result, most drivers are not held to any kind of "perfect standard," but instead are judged on whether their response was reasonable when considering the specific conditions.
3. Magnitude of Response
The last thing to be determined by car accident lawyers in conjunction with response choice and time is whether the chosen response was effective enough. A strong response that consists of hard-braking along with other acute actions that are taken just prior to a crash is the expected response in most cases.
According to various studies on this topic, drivers often fail to use the full force of their brakes or steering to avoid car accidents.1 While this study suggests that some drivers may not have reacted strongly enough, lawyers point out that it also finds that a lesser response is associated with many other influential factors.
Again, analysis of response magnitude involves assessing the entire situation and each individual driver to determine whether the actions taken were reasonable considering the conditions.
Determining fault and liability in car accidents can be a complex process that involves forensics experts, car accident attorneys, and other experts. One of the important factors considered by car accident lawyers during these investigations is driver reaction.
To properly assess each individual circumstance and determine whether a driver reacted reasonably to avoid a collision, lawyers must carefully analyze their reactions and how quickly and effectively their attempts were made!
Hildebrand & Wilson, Attorneys at Law
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
1Safety Brief, Triodyne Inc: Evaluating Driver Response to A Sudden Emergency: Issues of Expectancy, Emotional Arousal and Uncertainty, June 2002