A driver and his fiance were returning home shortly after midnight when they were unexpectedly confronted by an unmarked reverse curve that was partially covered with ice and snow. Upon encountering the ice at the designated speed limit of 40 mph, the driver applied his brakes. His tires immediately lost traction and his vehicle slid into the opposite lane.
The driver struggled to return the vehicle to its designated lane of travel, but when his tires regained traction, he accelerated out of control. After veering offroad to the left, his vehicle was slingshotted to the right where it crashed through a tree on the side of the road, flipped over, and came to a rest on its driver’s side.
The passenger is now a quadriplegic, and James E. Monroe, Esq., needed to show why she deserved compensation for her catastrophic injuries.
The primary focus of liability was that the city should have placed a warning sign and a speed limit of 25 mph ahead of the curve. Whereas the city did have a warning sign with a speed limit of 25 mph for the Eastbound lane, there was no sign for the Westbound lane and the speed limit was marked at 40 mph.
We traveled to New York with Jacobson Forensic Engineering, Inc., to perform a full site inspection at the crash scene and a vehicle inspection on exemplar models of the Plaintiff’s vehicle. We used the accident reconstruction data to build three animations that would achieve the following visual objectives:
- Demonstrate the lack of visibility from the driver’s POV after midnight.
- Reconstruct what happened from an aerial perspective as the Plaintiff reached the ice, lost control, and crashed.
- Show how a sign with a reduced speed limit of 25 mph would have provided sufficient warning for drivers to safely navigate the icy curve.
The visual presentation helped the Defense understand why the city shared liability for failing to provide sufficient warning for this dangerous curve. Mr. Monroe was able to settle the case for a successful, confidential amount.
Exhibit A: Demonstrating the Driver’s Lack of Visibility
The first animation establishes what the driver could see as he approached this dangerous curve that was covered in ice and snow. We captured the entire wipeout all the way through the rollover at the end.
We laser scanned the entire length of the roadway shown in the animation while capturing technical photography. We also conducted video drive-throughs while geo-tagging locations of signs and objects along the way. The nighttime settings were determined on a separate inspection by Human Factors Expert Dr. Joseph B. Sala, and the headlight illumination was determined through IES lab testing.
Exhibit A: Reconstructing What Happened
After establishing the driver’s perspective, the next animation demonstrates the vehicle dynamics of this complex wipeout from an aerial perspective. We added lighting to this environment to heighten the viewer’s ability to evaluate exactly what happened as the vehicle lost control and crashed.
Vehicle motion dynamics were calculated by Jacobson Forensic Engineering, Inc., after conducting an on-site inspection with our forensic team. We used the simulation data to accurately recreate how the vehicle traveled down the road, lost control, and drove off the road.
Below is an earlier rendition of this animated data - before adding photographic textures and animated infographics.
Exhibit C: Showing Alternative Safety Measures
Once we had established what happened from both the driver’s perspective and an aerial perspective, the next animation shows how simply adding a warning sign with a reduced 25 mph speed limit could have provided ample opportunity to avoid this dangerous curve.
The visual presentation ultimately reinforced Mr. Monroe’s argument that his client’s catastrophic injuries could have easily been avoided had city managers added signage to warn approaching drivers of the danger ahead.
High Impact’s team of visual strategists, artists and developers can build and customize your digital presentation for any case involving personal injury, medical malpractice, birth trauma - or any subject involving complex information.