Things that can be determined:

  • What would the accident have looked like from the perspective of a particular witness or from a particular vantage point?
  • At what point would the driver have seen a pedestrian appear?
  • How does the physical evidence (e.g. police measurements of skidmarks, debris locations) line up with existing scene photographs?
  • Where would skidmarks have been expected to be on a particular photograph, based on the accident reconstruction?
  • How would an occupant have moved around within a vehicle?
  • How would an accident have appeared from a particular

Many of these questions can be quantitatively addressed using accident reconstruction, biomechanical analyses, or photogrammetry.  However, the adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is certainly still true.  Numerical descriptions of geometrical concepts, no matter how accurate, frequently do not convey as much information as a three-dimensional image or movie.  Watching an accurate animated video of an accident may convey dramatically better and more convincing information than numbers or diagrams alone. 

Note, however, that unless the animations are based on accurate accident reconstructions and they properly account for camera properties, lighting effects, etc., they may be simply cartoons (and possibly disallowed as evidence in a trial).  The incorporation of accurate photogrammetry along with accident reconstruction and biomechanical analyses allows the generation of computer animations that are not only useful but also able to withstand rigorous analysis by an adverse party.