When a CED engineer is requested to reconstruct an accident, our engineers spend a significant amount of time analyzing the data and evidence collected in order to calculate or model the reconstruction. Using engineering principles and vehicular specific calculations, the engineer is then able to piece together an opinion as to what caused the accident and how it occurred. Although this model has been reviewed by peer engineers, the real test comes in the simulation portion of the process. Simulations involve taking accident recreation data that is reaffirmed by physics models. Our VCG engineers use such state-of-art computerized programs as PC Crash and other simulation models to verify calculations and provide visual models to clients and in courtrooms to further explain the accident scene.
The engineer will first enter a set of initial conditions such as a crush analysis, vehicle position and other data points into the program. From the initial conditions, the program can then simulate or move the vehicles forward in time through the point of impact, post impact paths to the final resting positions. Due to the high cost of trying to replicate the accident with actual physical cars, simulations are the best way to reaffirm the accident reconstructionist's model and can be used to display at mediation and/or trial. Simulations can only be as good as the reconstructionist’s ability to collect data and evidence, so for some accidents simulations are simply not possible.
Most people often ask CED what the difference is between a simulation and an animation. The difference is that a simulation takes a physics based approach to calculate potential speeds, directions and positions both prior and post impact. Animations are a representation of an expert’s opinion based upon a simulation or calculations that focus on one of several aspects to the accident. For example, if two vehicles collide in an accident a simulation could be used to show the potential speeds and positions of the vehicles. The CED engineer might then use animation to show that there was a line of sight issue involving perhaps a tree or stationary object that may have contributed to the accident. In this scenario, the animation would be able to show contributing factors that the expert would be able to visually display along with photographs and other scientific evidence. CED has experience with animation firms who work directly with the accident reconstructionist to provide high quality animations for accidents requiring visual representation.
Types of Vehicular Simulations & Animations
VCG Areas of Expertise