July 19, 2013
Considered opinion sought on a matter of basic physics (collision of car and truck)
In this blog post I'm only discussing TECHNICAL issues, not anything else.
Let's assume my car was hit on its left side by the tray of a truck turning left at the left green signal (my car had a red signal at that time). Situation is depicted below:
(click each of the images for larger image).
The figure above shows very roughly how the 20 metre truck-trailer hit my car. Basically there was a massive angular rotation and application of force which can't be depicted in a simple diagram.
THE KEY ISSUE
Assume that the truck company admits that "that there is a high probability that our client's trailer did in fact make contact with your vehicle and the damages sustained to your vehicle support this". However, the insurance agent denies that my car was stationery when the truck made contact with it. Instead it is alleged that my car was moving and wrongly overtaking the truck.
THE TECHNICAL QUESTION
Please look at the actual damage and lete me know what you think (using basic physics). It is possible for such a damage to be caused by a MOVING car that is overtaking a truck trailer?
Here are three pictures of the damage caused:
Above: The arrows indicate the zone of damage, with the central portion (doors) being the most damaged. The left side rear view mirror was pushed FORWARD. Note also that the rips in the doors have been pulled FORWARD by the truck trailer.
Above: Front door on passenger side was pulled OUT and FORWARD by the truck's trailer.
Above: Back door pulled OUT and FORWARD by nearly 2 inches.
The figure below (roughly drawn by me) illustrates the physics of the accident.
The diagram on the left (above) indicates that damage caused is CONSISTENT with a moving truck and stationary car. There is extensive lengthwise damage and the doors have been pulled outward.
The diagram on the right (above) shows that if my car was moving (at a speed much faster than the truck), and bumped into it while overtaking it, then my car would have had two different kinds of damage:
a) NOT extensive length-wise damage but in a particular spot where there would be a huge dent; and
b) the doors would have been pushed INWARD AND BACKWARD – not pulled outward and forward.
What's your considered opinion about the nature of the accident?