Early Friday morning, a Wake County school bus ran into and over a pick-up truck driven by a veteran Raleigh firefighter. Another vehicle was involved in the wreck, and all three drivers were injured. Thankfully, no children were injured. The collision happened in North Raleigh on Ligon Mill Road near the intersection of Louisburg Road. The damage to fireman Lt. Harry P. (“Flip”) Kissinger IV’s truck was so severe that bystanders were unable to get him out.

When the firefighter’s colleagues arrived on the scene, they quickly used the jaws of life to pry off the driver’s side door of the truck. EMS workers then began working on the critically injured fireman. About 45 minutes later, EMS workers got Kissinger onto a backboard and transported him to the trauma center at Wake Med. The City of Raleigh reported in a “press statement” that Kissinger had suffered a significant head injury in the crash.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol came to the scene but have not yet released the results of their investigation. In serious injury cases, where it is difficult to determine exactly how and why a collision occurred, we recommend hiring an expert accident reconstructionist. Such experts are engineers and scientists who have special education, training and experience in the reconstruction of accidents. They start with the end result (the crash) and work backwards to determine such things as point of impact, pre-crash speeds, line of sight, and other factors that are critical to determining why a crash occurs and who is at fault.

These experts are the real life forensic scientists that you see on many TV shows today. The group that we most often work with is Accident Reconstruction Analysis, Inc. out of Raleigh. Dr. Charles Manning and his team of engineers are the best at figuring out how and why accidents happen.

If you or a loved one is seriously injured in a wreck, and if there is any question about who is at fault, it is very important that your attorney immediately hire an accident reconstruction expert to determine the cause of the crash. Such experts also document the damage to the vehicles and the physical evidence at the scene, such as skid marks, gauge marks, and the point of impact. Such information quickly disappears or is no longer available in the days and weeks following a collision. If you or your attorney fail to move quickly to document this evidence, it will likely be lost forever, and so may be your chance to recover the compensation you deserve.