When you appoint us, we will need this...
We are often approached in matters and asked if we can assist. We typically prefer to receive at least the basic merits in the case, in order for us to see if we can even asssit. There have been cases where we felt that we could not contribute anything, or that we would effectively be testifying against our clients if we did. We typically decline appointments, in those cases.
This being said, many of our clients are not aware of all the technicalities that go into accident investigation, accident reconstruction, or expert testimony. This is where the saying “Garbage In/Garbage Out” starts to come into play. Until we see all the evidence in a matter, we cannot predict what kind of flaws there might be in the preparation of the case, or in the work of opposing experts.
To ensure that we can comment fully on all relevant aspects of a case, we prefer to receive the correct kind of evidence, in the correct kind of format. We cannot comment on cases if we are unable to properly interpret the evidence. For this reason, we have prepared the following list, describing each kind of evidence we required, along with an explanation for why we require it in the format indicated.
Before you appoint us in any matter, we will refer you to this page, or send you a version of this page, for the collection and supply of all the evidence available, in the format required, to allow us to properly view, interpret and consider the evidence in the matter
All the Evidence
In cases we are appointed in, we need to get all evidence. We prefer to get anything or anything you have in your possession. We know that sometimes the evidence you have might leave you worried about the impact of that evidence. If you withhold it from us, and it is presednted in court later, you might be accused of hiding evidence. By viewing it, we are also in a better position to advise you how to present that evidence, or how to explain it, based on the facts in the matter.
The Accident Report.
We need a copy of the Accident Report Form, because many of the elements that are relevant to our analysis might have been recorded on the form. There are many things we might now know about the scene; things like the direction of movement of vehicles, versions given, details of vehicles, names of drivers, occupants, victims, and witnesses. It is important that our report is compatible with the evidence recorded at-scene. It is better to be accurate in our report, than to try to explain discrepancies later.
If you want us to investigate your collision, we need basic details. There are cases where a lot of information is not yet available. We need to know things like, at least the date and time of the collision, the location where it occurred, the vehicles involved, the directions they were heading in. Without the most basic information in hand, or when a case is very old, we might not be in a position to assist effectively, or we might have plan additional work, to locate all the vidence we require.
If you appoint is in a matter, we need to have contact details for the relevant people. We often find that corporate clients appoint us, but provide no information regarding things like the location of vehicles. After the appointment, we then need to call back and ask where vehicles are. They might then call around, and tell us that it is at a particular place. When we go there, we might find that it is no longer there. For this reason, it is important for us to receive the contact details of any relevant people, in each case.
When yo give us the location of a collision, we often find that clients get it wrong in many cases. If you simply tell us that the collision happened “outside Bloemfontein,” we might locate the correct scene. We prefer for you to supply us with GOS Coordinates, a Map Locartion, or a “Pin-frop” from a platform like WhatsApp. It is essential that we have the accurate location, perhaps from a Mile Marker, or GPS Coordinates, to prevent us from proceeding to the wrong location, and to report incorrectly on dynamics.
Involved Party Details
We need to have a full list of all the involved parties. We might need to locate, contact, or interview Drivers, Passengers, Victims or Witnesses, wherever possible. We cannot risk proceeding to court and only then being confronted with a “new witness version,” or with a version by a driver that we never considered. Wherever possible, you need to supply us as much information about each invovled party, as possible. We might not speak to all of them, but we prefer to have the choice to do so, if this is neeeded.
Photos, Sketches, Videos, etc.
We prefer for you to provide us with any photographs, videos, reports, versions, statements, etc. When we receive any digital information – photographs, videos, or reports – we prefer to receive them in the best possible format available. This is ideally in the form of unaltered digital copies of the originals, perhaps on a USB Drive, a CD or DVD, via email, or from a Cloud location. To enlarge, enhance, or crop out certain parts of reports, photographs, or videos, we need them in the most original format possible.
It goes without saying that we would want to be in possession of the versions or experiences of drivers that were involved in collisions. In criminal cases this might not be possible, but perhaps having a version, in the third person, would at least enable us to consider the experience of the involved drivers. Even a version by someone explaining what a driver told them, can be of assistance. As far as possible, we prefer to have the versions of Drivers, Victims, and Witnesses, to consider in our reports.
Copies of Driving Licenses
We need copies of the Driving Licenses of Drivers involved in collisions. This allows us to determine if they were licensed, licensed for the class or type of vehicle driven, whether they were authorized to drive the vehicle, and to verify their details, whether they were in possession of a Professional Driving Permit, etc. By having a copy of the Driving Licenses, we are also able to verify that the Driver is positively identified, authorized to drive the vehicle, and licensed to do so – all important aspects.
Most cases involve multiple vehicles, if other parties are involved. In order to allow us to consider the damages to each, and to examine them properly, we prefer to know the location of all involved vehicles, and their trailers. We prefer to know the address they were towed to, or even the GPS Coordinates where they can be found. We prefer to examine all vehicles, to consider damages and to eliminate or consider mechanical faults, or claims of mechanical failure. We prefer to examine all vehicles, in each case.
Vehicle Registration Papers
We require vehicle registration papers for all vehicles and their trailers, that were involved in collisions. This allows us to verify ownership of the vehicle, to determine masses of vehicles, to verify VIN Numbers, or to ensure that the vehicle was properly registered and licensed at the time of the collision. The VIN Numbers also allow us to do research on the vehicles in question, if there are concerns about design or safety. It also allows us to verify that the vehicles was not stolen, or used illegally.
Vehicle Maintenance History
We ask for copies of maintenance history for vehicles for at least six months prior to the collision. In order for us to eliminate any claims of mechanical failure, or allegations about a lack of maintenance, we need to be in possession of these records. It is very possible that a vehicle had a recurring issue that goes unnoticed when it is badly damaged. These records allow us to consider, or eliminate, such concerns. We prefer to have this information before we testify in court, in case this issue is raised, there.
Vehicle Telemetry Data
Whenever vehicles are fitted with any Vehicle Telemetry Recording Systems, such as “Trackers,” Dash Cameras, Video/Telemetry Systems, Tachographs, etc. If your vehicle is fitted with any Video, Audio or Telemetry Recording Devices, you should make an effort to recover that data, and to supply it to us. We typically use this for the analysis of the collision event, for the verification of the Driver’s Versions, or for the interpretation of Witness or Victim statements. Act early, to preserve this kind of evidence!