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Side Impact / Angle Traffic Accident
Reconstruction Expert
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Side impact or angled collisions are more likely to involve serious personal injury or death than frontal or rear end accidents at
similar speeds.  This is because the side of a vehicle is relatively soft and offers far less protection than the front or rear of the
same vehicle.  Even with the addition of side and head curtain airbags in many modern vehicles, occupants can be seriously
injured during angled crashes.

Angled collisions generally happen at intersections and are usually caused by one car violating a traffic signal or failing to yield the
right of way.  When investigating angled crashes, the most common method used by accident reconstructionists to determine
speed is
linear momentum analysis.
Linear Momentum Analysis
In some cases, the nature of the known variables may make a momentum analysis sensitive, in that changing a known variable by just a small percent may change the
unknown/derived variables by a considerable amount.  For example, when vehicles of significantly different weights collide (truck vs car), a small adjustment of the approach
or departure angles greatly affects the derived impact speed for the smaller vehicle.  Our expert accident reconstructionists will perform a sensitivity check in order to ensure
reliable opinions.
Weight Vehicle 1

Weight Vehicle 2

Approach Angle of Vehicle 1

Approach Angle of Vehicle 2

Impact Speed of Unit 1

Impact Speed of Unit 2
Weight Vehicle 1

Weight Vehicle 2

Departure Angle of Vehicle 1

Departure Angle of Vehicle 2

Post-Impact Speed of Unit 1

Post-Impact Speed of Unit 2
Momentum analysis is based on the conservation of momentum. Every vehicle in motion has a property called momentum,
which can be quantified by multiplying the vehicle's weight by its speed.  Momentum is a vector quantity, in that it also has a
direction.  Since, in side impact collisions, the vehicles approach at angles that are not parallel to one another, the linear
momentum analysis must employ the concepts of trigonometry to mathematically analyze the impact.

The conservation of linear momentum assumes a
closed system, in that the total momentum before impact is the same
after impact.  Based on this assumption, as long as 10 of the following 12 basic variables are known or can be determined,
accident reconstruction experts can solve for the remaining 2 unknown variables.  A linear momentum analysis deals only
with speeds immediately before impact and immediately after separation from the angled collision.  
Momentum Analysis for Reconstruction
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Disclaimer: Crash Data Services, LLC and crashdataservices.net provide the information in this web site for informational purposes only. The information is not intended to be legal advice or an expert
opinion and should not be construed as such.  The use of this site does not create a contractor/client relationship with any employee of Crash Data Services, LLC.   Each investigation is different. Case
results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case.  The results of any investigation/reconstruction do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by Crash Data Services,
LLC
Our experts are always available to fulfill your accident reconstruction needs  Call today for a free consultation:  (847)-217-6644 or reach our reconstruction experts by email