Accident reconstruction experts come from a variety of fields, such as engineering, law enforcement, and physics. In order to become an accident reconstruction expert witness, an individual must first obtain the required education in the chosen field. The next step necessary to become an accident reconstruction expert witness is to gain a reputation within his or her field as one who is knowledgeable, dependable, and objective.
When a person is injured in an accident, in order to receive compensation for his or her injuries, another person, or entity, must be legally determined to be liable for the accident. Often, however, when someone is injured in an accident, the cause of the accident is not clear. When causation, and ultimately liability, is not immediately clear, an accident reconstruction expert may be called on to reconstruct the accident. By reconstructing the accident, the cause becomes clear and, therefore. the liable party is discovered, in most cases.
The opinion of an an accident reconstructionist is just that — an opinion. It is not uncommon for more than one party involved in an accident litigation case to hire an accident reconstruction expert which may result in conflicting opinions as to the cause of the accident. If the case is not resolved prior to trial, the parties may call upon the experts to testify at trial in an attempt to prove their case.
There is not one specific educational path which a person must follow to become an accident reconstruction expert witness. Most accident reconstruction experts, however, have an engineering or physics background. Many also have some law enforcement experience, which provides the practical background to compliment the theoretical background gained by a degree. There are a number of companies, or associations, that specifically provide accident reconstruction expertise. Anyone who ultimately aspires to become an accident reconstruction expert witness should pursue work with a company or association that is engaged in the field.
Once a person has gained a significant amount of experience working in the filed of accident reconstruction, he or she may offer his or her services as an expert witness. In the United States, a witness' designation as an expert is determined on a case-by-case basis by agreement of the parties or by the judge. As a rule, an expert witness must be licensed or credentialed in the filed in which he or she plans to testify. In addition, he or she must have significant experience working in the field and be recognized by his or her peers as an expert in the field.