Otago Polytechnic

Matt King uses his expertise to resolve disputes about liability for traffic accidents.

In New Zealand, the issue of liability for a traffic accident usually arises in the context of a police prosecution of the driver they believe to have been at fault - but the police don't always get it right. In the United States, where Matt is from, insurers are very keen to attribute liability for a traffic accident to some other party. A Principal Lecturer in Engineering Technology, Matt King has extensive experience investigating traffic accidents for private parties, insurance companies, law enforcement agencies and governments in New Zealand, France and USA.

In one recent case, a young driver, swerved to avoid a vehicle in the middle of the road, lost control of his vehicle and ran off the road. Based on the police investigation, the insurer sought to pin the blame on the driver of another vehicle at the intersection. Matt's analysis of the accident determined that that the other vehicle was stationery, and the driver of the insured vehicle had time to stop prior to swerving around the stationery vehicle. The insurer then sought to blame the manufacturer of the spray that a tractor was spreading adjacent to the road, claiming that the spray must have made the roadway slippery and caused the vehicle to slip out of control. So Matt undertook further investigation, finding that the spray was no more slippery than a wet roadway - and yes, he did get to drive cars fast and brake hard during testing. 

Matt is also experienced as an expert witness, but most of the time his reports are so decisive that the dispute is resolved without the need for him to testify in court. 

Links

TECHNOLOGY & DESIGN

 

May 2018

Image credit: Erkin, used under Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0