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Can fault be determined from these pictures?

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Can fault be determined from these pictures?

Post by Mantaray » Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:02 am

My wife was recently in an accident (driving a Honda Civic) with a truck driver. She was stopped at a traffic light at a busy intersection, the truck was next to her and to her left, in a left turning lane. As the light turned green, she started to accelerate slowly (going straight through the intersection), when she says it felt felt like she hit a giant pothole. Then she realized this truck struck her car (it actually lifted her car), and she pulled over and called the police. As you can see it caused a decent amount of damage on our little Civic. My 7 year old boy was in the car with her.

The Police arrive, and the Truck driver claims she swerved into his lane. When my wife called me from the accident, she still in shock. She took a few pictures, but I feel these guys (there were two of them) took full advantage since it was a woman and a little boy. The accident report documents the conflicting stories. My wife says she was going straight and was struck by the truck as he turned left, and the truck drivers story that she swerved into his lane as he was turning. It documents the point of impact on her car as the section from the middle of the car to the rear quarter panel. His point of impact is documented as behind his front bumper to his front door. I do not believe this is accurate as you can see his bumper tore into the section above my wife's rear wheel, ripping the metal apart.

I am really livid about this, we are both defensive drivers with perfect records, but we have a high deductible on our policy and no rental insurance. According to the insurance company adjuster I spoke to yesterday, fault is mostly determined by the "story" the drivers told and only by the damage in 20% or less cases. I am not comfortable with what is happening here. Any opinions or suggestions would be very much appreciated!

Here is a link to the intersection, my wife was driving south on Franklin and the lanes are indicated by the arrows.
https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7266841 ... a=!3m1!1e3

Best regards,

Rick
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Re: Can fault be determined from these pictures?

Post by Hebert » Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:56 am

Rick:
Crash reconstruction isn't (shouldn't) be about finding "fault," it's about explaining HOW the crash happened and, from that, a judge or jury (or maybe at an earlier stage an adjuster) would assign or "find" a percentage of fault. While that probably sounds like splitting hairs, I think you have to remember everyone has a specific role and some just don't overlap.

From the photos of the damage, you can get an idea about HOW the cars came together but that doesn't tell you WHERE they came together. Something on the road (usually tire marks) would be useful in the WHERE part. I might have missed it but I don't see where the contact was on the truck but the one thing that struck me is that the damage is to the rear of the car. that would infer - to me - the truck was probably mostly behind the car and the contact area on the truck is likely to be the front bumper.

Could that mean that the car was in a blind spot for the truck? Could that mean the truck was in the car's blind spot? Either would support one or the other drifting into the wrong lane without something from the road that would be more definitive. I'm not sure what to suggest here but to help you understand that there are pieces of the puzzle missing here that would be helpful in evaluating WHAT happened WHERE on the road.
T. Ted Hebert

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Re: Can fault be determined from these pictures?

Post by Mantaray » Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:02 am

Mr. Herbert, Thanks for your reply.

I fully understand what you are saying. I guess that's why I'm so upset. My wife was in shock and had our son in the vehicle, so I don't blame her. Ideally she should have gotten pictures at the scene at the time of impact, or at least tire marks or his left bumper! Now we are left without enough evidence, and even the police did not accurately describe his left bumper causing the damage.

Our Insurance has said we are not at fault, but this will likely go to arbitration, we have to accept whatever verdict is handed down and that it will take months.

Thanks again,

Rick

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Re: Can fault be determined from these pictures?

Post by actar670 » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:34 am

The damage to the left rear door panel is likely the result of contact with the right end of the front bumper of the truck, while the tearing you see around the left rear wheel well was likely caused by the raised lug nuts on the right front wheel of the truck. The damage indicates that the car is traveling faster than the truck during impact. There are no obvious black scuff marks to suggest that the truck's tires were turned significantly one way or the other at the time of impact, but that does not necessarily mean much, depending upon how much offset there is between the tire face and the lug nuts. Some photos of the right side of the truck would be more helpful than seeing the nose of it.
Bruce McNally
McNally & Associates ARS, LLC
41 Champlin Ridge Road
Rochester, NH 03867
Office (603) 516-4560
Web http://mcnallyassociates.com

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Re: Can fault be determined from these pictures?

Post by Avanice » Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:56 am

I am in full agreement with Bruce McNally's comments in relation to these photographs. The circular path of the wheel lug nuts is a firm indication of what was in contact. It is also noted this marking is evident on the tire sidewall (note the even spacing of the scuffed areas) and the leading edge of the rear bumper. This may suggest the rear bumper was torn loose by this contact although the possibility of a secondary contact cannot be denied.

Without further information and extrapolating further from what can be seen, this would appear to be a case of the car driver pulling across the truck driver's path.
There can be an alternative situation where the truck driver moved right and collided with the car as the car was along side and accelerating away and this would also fit the driving pattern of many people today who swerve to the right before turning left and vice-versa. It can also fit the driving requirement of a truck to complete a turn without crossing the kerb and foot-way.

However, IMHO further information is required as to the precise location of the accident (to determine if the car moved in or the truck moved out) to establish any provisional conclusion.

I'm sorry but past history of being a defensive driver and having a good driving record does not delete or diminish blame from any incident.

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Re: Can fault be determined from these pictures?

Post by Mantaray » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:27 pm

Avanice wrote:There can be an alternative situation where the truck driver moved right and collided with the car as the car was along side and accelerating away and this would also fit the driving pattern of many people today who swerve to the right before turning left and vice-versa. It can also fit the driving requirement of a truck to complete a turn without crossing the kerb and foot-way.


Okay, I follow everything you guys are saying here and I appreciate all the responses. I posted a link up above to a picture of the intersection from google maps if that would help any. I only came here to find out what could be proved, and your responses help clarify that for me. But I trust my wife, and the above scenario is probably what happened according to her, even if it can't be proven with the few pictures we have. I grew up near an industrial area and the trucks do this all day long (swerve right before turning left), in addition you have a tiny civic in that trucks blind spot (no way that trucks in anyone's blind spot due to it's size). So it seems much more likely a scenario to me than someone swerving left while attempting to go straight through an intersection. If someone had bad phone habits (texting etc) or was falling asleep at the wheel, I could see how a swerve like that might occur, but otherwise what would cause you someone to swerve into a left turning while going straight from a stopped position? I find it very unlikely....

Anyway, I understand completely your point of view, so again I appreciate everyone's help immensely.

Thanks,

Rick


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