Recreating Accident Scenes Using Scientific Animations

A big rig tailgating a sedan

Legal cases involving accidents and injuries are often fraught with highly legal or medical technical terms and the key points are typically disputed by the prosecution and defense. This in turn can easily cloud what the lawsuit is really about: the wrongful pain and suffering of the victims and the events that lead there. To help clarify the confusion and present a clear, compelling narrative of events, scientific animations and recreations may be used. Recently we used just such an animation in a horrendous 18-wheeler accident case involving a tractor-trailer that caused a multi-car accident and left one vehicle badly crushed. While identifying information has been removed to protect the privacy and anonymity of those involved, here is a sequence of what the animation depicts.


The detailed, scientific animation begins by setting the scene including the accident date and time, location, and conditions. This information is crucial for providing context and helping viewers imagine the scenario. In this case the accident occurred after dark on a stretch of Texas interstate overpass highway during dry weather conditions.

The animation explains that at the time of the accident traffic was backed up due to construction about a mile up ahead of the eventual accident site. It also shows the position of vehicles, the span of the accident, and even recreates the skid marks.


Next the animation presents the accident sequence overview. It depicts the 18-wheeler traveling down the interstate, past the exit before the accident site, and failing to sufficiently slow down as it approaches the stopped traffic. The 18-wheeler first collides with one vehicle and then another, pushing both forward as it continues to careen out of control. Eventually it pushes the first vehicle into another 18-wheeler while sending the second vehicle hurdling toward the side of the road and the overpass wall.

The 18-wheeler then re-collides with the second vehicle and slams into the overpass wall, crushing the second vehicle between itself and the concrete overpass wall.


The first animation featuring the 18-wheeler as the focal point is highly compelling. However, the animation further recreates the scene by also featuring another recreation from the point of view of the crushed second vehicle. This animation shows how the vehicle sustained damage from multiple angles. The new angle and different focal point helps viewers further relate to the crushed vehicle and better understand the sequence of events.


Adding to the realism of the animation are real-world accident scene photographs which are interspersed with the detailed recreations. For example as the first vehicle is pushed into the other tractor-trailer a photograph comes on screen showing the actual, documented damage. Then as the second vehicle is crushed between the 18-wheeler and the overpass wall, real-world photographs capturing the crushed and mangled vehicle are presented. Subsequent pictures documenting the damage from where the second vehicle collided with the 18-wheeler’s side and with the overpass wall are also presented, and the crushed vehicle is shown from multiple angles to highlight the extent of the damage.


The goal of the animation of course is to scientifically recreate the accident in a way that is real and ultimately indisputable. It presents viewers with the full, unbiased extent of the damage and directly holds the 18-wheeler accountable for what happened. The photographic evidence further legitimizes the animation by showing what it is based on and that it was created using real scientific evidence.

At Dugas Law Firm we take every accident, every case, very seriously and our goal is to present the evidence in a way that demands justice for the victims. This animation was a great tool to accomplish that objective and our clients can rest assured that we will always do whatever it takes to present the truth from a strong, well-founded position.

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