Biomechanics is the application of mechanics to the interaction of biological systems with their external environment. When investigating an accident, biomechanical analysis can be used to reconstruct a victim's motion and relate it to his injuries. This can be applied in such diverse cases as determining the post-impact motion of occupants involved in an automobile accident, or calculating the impact force of an elevator door closing on a person's knee. A biomechanical analysis may be accomplished with simplified "stick figure" models or complex 3D computer simulation techniques.
We have extensive experience in many aspects of biomechanics including:
Head-form/windshield impact testing
Head (HIC) and other Injury Criteria
Body size & reach analysis
Extensive Biomechanical Library
Fall from Swing:
A child was swinging on a plastic swing seat when he fell off and suffered a severe head injury. The defense claimed that he must have been standing or otherwise misusing the swing when the accident occurred. We used a biomechanical simulation to demonstrate that the low coefficient of friction (COF) between the swing seat and the child's shorts could have resulted in the fall he described and that an alternate seat design with a higher COF would have prevented the accident.
Dr. Irving Ojalvo was, at the time of this article's publication, the Chairman of Technology Associates (www.technology-assoc.com), a forensic engineering firm with offices in New York City and Connecticut. The firm's technical personnel, all of whom have advanced degrees, perform accident reconstruction involving issues of biomechanics, mechanical, traffic, and human factors engineering.
Electric power and electronic appliances are so integrated with modern life that there is a high degree of likelihood that everyone will receive one or more electric shocks in a lifetime. In many cases, only trivial power levels are involved.
Fishing and boating accidents result in thousands of injuries each year. The U.S. Coast Guard reported 3331 injuries and 709 fatalities due to boating accidents on both recreational and commercial vessels. There are many causes for these accidents, including collisions with objects or other vessels, drowning, electrical and mechanical failures, interaction with unguarded machinery, and others. There are various acts and laws that govern accidents at sea. This issue of Forensic Clues will examine some of the preventable accidents caused by defective machinery and equipment that occur at sea, and a brief overview of the laws and regulations affecting product liability litigation related to maritime accidents.
A recent failure of a ski lift in Wisconsin has received much media attention. While accidents such as these are rare, they do occur. Much more frequent are accidents involving collisions with other people or objects. This issue of Forensic Clues will examine the types of accidents that occur on the mountains.