Why You Need a Lawyer to Prove the Other Driver Was Speeding in a Maryland Car Crash

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on May 25, 2023 and updated on June 13, 2023.

speedometer up closeOne of the most prevalent threats on the road is other drivers who are speeding. Most of us encounter speeding drivers almost every time we get behind the wheel.

The reason speeding is such a significant threat to your safety is because faster-moving cars cause more severe damage.

One of the most important questions when seeking compensation after this type of crash is: how do you prove the other driver was speeding?

The experienced Maryland vehicle accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl have detailed knowledge about validating car crash claims, including claims involving speeding.

Call 410-297-0271 to learn more about our services. No upfront fees.

What You Can Learn From the Police Report

The responding officer may often indicate in the police report why he or she thinks the crash happened. If the officer determines a driver was speeding, he or she may even issue a citation. If the officer issues a traffic citation for speeding, it would greatly help to prove a case. Traffic citations for speeding are also noted in the police report.

Other useful information in the police report includes relevant details about the scene of the accident. The responding officer likely gathered statements if there were witnesses to the crash. Credible witnesses can provide useful information. For instance, they may say it looked like the other driver was speeding.

Witness Accounts of the Crash

Unfortunately, witness accounts of an accident are sometimes unreliable. However, if the witness’ account is backed up by other evidence, a witness is likely to be viewed as more credible.

That said, how can a witness know whether the other driver was speeding? Assessing another car’s speed is challenging, especially if there are fewer cars on the road. However, in heavier traffic, it is more obvious when one car is moving significantly faster than the others around it. For example, the witness may have noticed the at-fault driver passing numerous vehicles while recklessly darting in and out of traffic.

Eyewitnesses are not the only types of witnesses who could help to prove your case. Sometimes, your lawyer may recommend bringing in an expert witness, such as an accident reconstruction expert.

Physical Evidence From the Scene of the Accident

There might not always be direct evidence that the other driver was speeding. Perhaps this is because there were no traffic cameras or eyewitnesses about at the time of the crash. However, your lawyer and expert witnesses can often utilize crash scene evidence to infer speeding.

This could include things like:

Damage to the Vehicles Involved

Severe damage is more likely to occur if one or both vehicles involved in the crash were moving at high speed. For example, it is highly likely one or both drivers were speeding if the posted speed limit for the area is low. If a newer vehicle was totaled in a crash and suffered extensive damage to the outer shell, as well as to the engine and/or frame, it is likely speeding was involved.

While many drivers believe going just a few miles over the speed limit is not a big deal, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently conducted tests that prove otherwise. According to this study, for every few miles faster over the speed limit, the risk for catastrophic or fatal injuries increases. Even at just 56 mph, studies showed the interior of the crash test vehicle was significantly damaged. A person in a crash at this speed is more likely to cause severe injuries, which could include:

  • Brain injuries
  • Facial fractures
  • Severe neck injuries
  • Fractures in the lower leg

Parking lot accidents can be serious no matter what speed the vehicles were traveling. However, when there is severe frame damage to the vehicle, such as the bumper breaking off, or engine damage, speeding was probably a factor. The speed limit in many parking lots is 15 miles per hour or less. Significant damage is not going to happen at that speed unless the vehicle already had some damage prior to the accident.

Reviewing Collision Ratings

When the vehicles from a collision are assessed by a body shop and mechanics, they look at the collision ratings for these vehicles. A collision rating is an estimate of the amount of damage the vehicle is likely to suffer depending on the speed. In other words, the body shop and/or mechanic can work backward from the damage to the vehicle to determine how fast the vehicles involved in the crash were traveling.

Hiring an Accident Reconstruction Expert

Sometimes attorneys hire accident reconstruction experts to draft a report on a crash to help prove the cause and other factors, such as how the crash caused the victim’s injuries. These experts have training in fields like engineering and physics. This specialized knowledge can be applied to draw conclusions about a crash.

Skid Marks Left by the At-Fault Driver’s Vehicle

If there are no skid marks or small skid marks, it is an indication the driver did not have much time to stop. While this evidence could indicate speeding, it may also indicate distracted driving, which sometimes goes hand in hand with speeding.

On the other hand, long skid marks are usually a clear indication of speeding. It takes longer to stop if you are speeding. That leaves more room for skid marks before the collision. Slamming on the brakes at high speed is also more likely to create skid marks.

Debris Created by the Crash

If debris was flung far from the point of impact, it is likely speeding was involved. That is why accident reconstruction experts will carefully study pictures of a crash scene.

Determining how far debris was thrown from the crash can allow experts to calculate how fast the vehicles in the crash were traveling. This is why it is so important to get pictures of the scene before cars are removed and debris is cleaned up.

Video Footage of the Collision

There might be video footage of the crash, such as from a dashboard camera or security camera. If your dash cam was running at the time of the collision, it may provide strong evidence about what caused the accident to happen.

However, the situation may be more complicated if the dash cam is in the other driver’s vehicle. This is one of many reasons you should hire an experienced lawyer to help prove your case. An experienced lawyer will know how to formally obtain the footage in question. This is particularly important after a commercial truck crash, as your lawyer will need to take steps to preserve the footage. Your lawyer may also be able to help you obtain dash cam footage from a vehicle being driven for Uber or Lyft.

Sometimes there are security cameras nearby that captured the collision. If you see any, be sure to take pictures of them. Your lawyer may be able to investigate and obtain the footage from the camera.

Data From the Vehicle’s Electronic Data Recorder (Black Box)

Most of the cars on the road contain black boxes, which are also known as electronic data recorders. These devices note a vehicle’s speed during a crash.

However, drivers may not willingly hand this information over. This is yet another reason why you need an experienced lawyer to help you prove the other driver was speeding. Your lawyer can subpoena the data and bring in an expert with the tools to download black box data and interpret it.

GPS Data

It may also be possible to use GPS data to prove the other driver was speeding. For example, if the data says it should have taken 20 minutes for the driver to get from one point to another, and the driver got there in 10 minutes, it may be proof of speeding.

We Help Vehicle Crash Victims. Call to Learn More

You need an experienced attorney to help you pursue full compensation for the damages you suffered in the crash. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to deny or underpay claims. Without experienced legal help, injury victims often do not recover the full value of their claims.

Our attorneys do not charge upfront fees. We do not get paid unless you get paid.

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