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TheStreet Open House

Car Accident Diagrams Go Digital





After something as jarring as a car accident, details of what happened can end up tangled or lost in the retelling of the story.

To convey how it all took place, it helps to show -- not just tell -- what occurred. Perhaps nothing does that better than an accident diagram. (See: " Driving your car after it's totaled.")

"An accident diagram can answer a lot of questions and can really help a lawyer, insurance adjuster or jury see -- 'Ah, that's what happened,'" says Hector Quiroga, a Spokane, Wash., attorney and a former insurance claims adjuster.

Quiroga drew hundreds of accident diagrams as an adjuster, and today he still uses the tool as an attorney representing clients who have been in accidents. A good diagram, he says, can help make your case in court or help you through the insurance claims process. The picture brings details to life that help others who weren't at the accident scene visualize how the crash occurred. (See: " Don't let an accident wreck your identity, too.")

"A diagram carries a lot of weight," he says.

Technology prevents accident details from getting lost

Not long ago, accident diagrams were primarily done using pen and paper, but now technology has transformed the art of the crash sketch.

Some smartphone car crash and insurance apps feature diagramming capability, including:

"Pictures help break down any language differences or gaps that may exist between two parties when describing what happened in an accident," State Farm spokesperson Matt Edwards says. "It isn't a replacement for the words, but it is an additional tool we can use to make what happened clear and easy to follow."

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