Ralph Aronberg, P.E., has reconstructed over 1,500 accidents and has testified in over 150 jury trials, since founding the firm in 1983. He provides Expert Witness services in the areas of:
Traffic accident reconstruction (cars, trucks, motorcycles and pedestrians).
Vehicle occupant kinematics (seatbelts)
Traffic engineering design (geometrics, signing, markings, signals and lighting)
Sight distance analysis
Hazardous roadway conditions
Work Zone Traffic Control evaluation
Evaluation of roadway curvature
Traffic signal operations
Computerized accident reconstruction and simulation
Vehicle "black box" data retrieval (certified>
Mr. Aronberg is published in the fields of pedestrian / bicycle / motorcycle accident reconstructions, and 3 Dimensional Animations and Scientific Visualizations through the Society of Automotive Engineers. Mr. Aronberg is a Fellow member of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers, and certified as a Diplomat in forensic Engineering.
Dr. Jeffrey Buckholz is a practicing design engineer with over 40 years of experience in Traffic Engineering, Traffic Signal Timing, Signal Design and Signal Construction. He is also proficient in Pavement Marking Design, Roadway Signing, and Work Zone Traffic Control. Dr. Buckholz has authored 3 national training manuals in signal design, construction and inspection. He is a PE in 6 states: FL, GA, CA, MA, MI, OH and is a Professional Traffic Operations Engineer. Dr. Buckholz has been chief engineer of his engineering company for 30 years and was an Adjunct Professor at the University of North Florida from 2005 through 2007. He has served as an expert witness in over 220 cases. Past Project Experience:
Traffic Signal and ITS Design
Traffic Signal Timing
Signing and Pavement Marking Design
Work Zone Traffic Control Design
Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness Jose Granda
Jose J. Granda, PhD, PE, is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the California State University in Sacramento, CA. Prof. Granda is a Professional Registered Mechanical Engineer with almost 40 years of experience in the industry. A NASA Fellow, he served as a NASA public spokesman for 17 space shuttle missions.
Degrees and License:
PhD in Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Davis
ME in Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
MS in Mechanical Engineering, National Polytechnic University, Ecuador
PE (Professional Engineer) License in Mechanical Engineering
Specialized Training: Vehicle Dynamics and Design, Vehicle Safety and Crash Reconstruction, Accident Bio-mechanics, Finite Element Modeling in Computer Aided Design, Advanced Mechanical Design and Failure Analysis, CSUS; Motorcycle Accident reconstruction; EDR Certification, Tech 1, Tech II, EDR Analysis Certification, Collision Safety Institute; Applying Automotive EDR Data to Traffic Crash Reconstruction, SAE Society of Automotive Engineers International; Advanced Accident Reconstruction Utilizing Human Factors course; Photogrammetry for Collision Reconstruction, Lightpoint Data; Bicycle and Pedestrian Accident Reconstructions; Heavy Commercial Vehicles Accident Reconstruction
Litigation Support - Prof. Granda is an expert in Forensic Engineering and Accident Reconstruction using computer simulations. His cases include accidents involving vehicles and people. He offers services to attorneys for plaintiff and defendant which include thorough written reports, depositions, and trial experience.
Andrew W. Thomas is the founder of Collision Analytics, an ACTAR certified Motor Vehicle Crash Reconstructionist, and a licensed Illinois Private Investigator. He regularly instructs crash investigation and reconstruction courses throughout the United States and Canada for the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety.
Background Experience - Mr. Thomas has over 14 years of experience as an Illinois law enforcement officer and has attended nearly 1,000 hours of crash investigation and reconstruction training, ranging from pedestrian collisions to accessing and interpreting heavy vehicle event data recorders. Throughout his tenure, he has investigated over 200 major collisions involving all types of vehicles.
Litigation Support - Mr. Thomas has worked in the public and private sector investigating numerous personal injury and fatal crashes and has been recognized by courts as an expert witness in crash reconstruction.
He currently leads a team of 7 investigators and 6 reconstructionists responsible for investigating all major crash investigations within unincorporated McHenry County, outside Chicago-land.
Since 2017, Collision Analytics has served clients as a full-service crash investigation and reconstruction company providing expert consultation, analysis, and testimony. Mr. Thomas' services are available to attorneys representing both plaintiff and defendant.
Serving Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, and Michigan, Collision Analytics has the equipment to retrieve electronic data and the experience to assess its impact on a case. Their services also include survey and drone scene mapping, forensic vehicle examinations, courtroom exhibit preparation, and crash reconstructions including electronic, GPS, and cellular phone data.
Dr. Kevin A. Rider, PhD, PE, CPE of Forensic Human Factors, LLC., providing investigations and expert testimony regarding predictable human behavior, particularly as it relates to motor vehicle and pedestrian collisions, premises liability, and slips, trips and falls, the design and use of products, and adequacy of warnings/instructions. His work focuses on identifying the Human Factors Elements that lead to unfortunate incidents, and what should have been done to prevent them.
Dr. Rider is a Licensed Professional Engineer and Certified Professional Ergonomist, and has studied human movements and behavior, and served as a human factors consultant since 1999, including five years teaching industrial engineering and occupational safety courses at West Virginia University. He has presented at professional conferences, both nationally and abroad, and his research is published and cited in a number of peer-reviewed journals. He continues to serve as a reviewer for conference and journal manuscripts.
Dr. Rider has testified over 100 times, and excels at educating attorneys and jurors. His services are available to attorneys for both Plaintiff and Defense.
Areas of Expertise:
Driver Behavior - Cell Phone Use and other In-Vehicle Distractions
Product Liability - Design, Guards, Warnings, Adequacy of Instructions
Premises Liability - Sidewalks, Shopping Centers, Community Parks, Retail Displays
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Visibility and Lighting - Illumination and Conspicuity of Objects
Workplace Safety - Defective Products, Gross Negligence or Misconduct, Third Party Actions on Worksites
Mukul K. Verma, PhD, (University of Michigan) brings more than 35 years of Engineering & R&D experience to his consulting practice in the areas of Vehicle Engineering, Automotive Safety, and Mechatronics Systems Design.
Dr. Verma's experience includes multiple asignments in automobiles’ design and testing at one of the largest vehicle manufacturers the USA. In addition, he has significant R&D experience which led to several advances in automotive engineerin. These include areas such as automatic crash notification systems for post-crash protection, vehicles designs & pedestrians’ safety, airbag & passive protection systems design, motorcycle dynamics, heavy truck rollovers, etc. Also in his role as technical expert, he led international industry-wide teams of experts to successfully develop engineering solutions to urgent problems in traffic safety.
As a consultant, he has worked with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency on future lighter vehicle designs and their occupants' protection in traffic accidents. He has also provided consultation to overseas government organization and research agency on electric vehicles' functional issues and traffic safety, as well as on test facilities.
Dr Verma has also taught several graduate-level and professional courses at universities in Mechatronics and Mechanical Engineering, Intelligent vehicle systems, Structural dynamics analysis and Vehicle Design Integration. He has published more than thirty papers in peer-reviewed journals and at international conferences and has been active in professional organizations as invited speaker, session chairman and organizer. He is well-known for his expertise in Vehicle Engineering and Traffic Safety and his interviews and opinions have appeared in US and in international media on several occasions
Litigation Support – Dr. Verma’s recent litigation-related work has been in two fields:
(a) Product Liability cases related to the performance of automobiles and components in accidents in the area; and
(b) Intellectual Property claims related to mechatronics systems in automobiles and the validity / infringement of patents.
Every year, there are approximately 6000 fatalities (6227 in the year 2018) and many more serious injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists from vehicles in the USA. More recent data1 show that these numbers have increased by 45% since 2009. These trends have varied over the years but injuries and fatalities to pedestrians and cyclists from automobiles remain a serious issue.
This article contains a few of the findings from our recent study of automobile safety in frontal crashes. Parts of the data analyses are presented but details such as the relationship of a particular design feature to the measured injury indicators are highly dependent on specific cases and are available only for individual discussions.
Many automobile accidents are complex cases with multiple events during a single accident. The aim of forensic investigations of such (and all other) accidents is to reconstruct the sequence and the severity of events during the accident and then to establish cause and- effect relationships between the injuries (or damages) and the probable factors - vehicle design (e.g. brakes, structure, airbags); vehicle operator (e.g. distracted driver, alcohol impairment, reduced vision); and operating conditions (e.g. fog, failed traffic sign, excessive speed, icy road).
The New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (part of the U.S Department of Transportation) underwent major changes recently. For automobiles designated as model years 2011 and later, the changes involve both what is measured and what is published.
Airbags in modern automobiles have been around for many years and their record in improving occupant safety in crashes is generally well accepted. However, many questions still arise regarding their deployment and performance in crashes.
Coordinate with the Best Accident Reconstruction and Human Factors Experts for Technical Accuracy
PAUL KAYFETZ, INC. frequently helps plan complete technical testing, visibility study, computer simulation and demonstrative evidence strategy - coordinating a group of technical witnesses who are independently retained by counsel. This is requested by many clients because of Mr. Kayfetz' track record, his previous career as an attorney, his extensive contact with top experts from his 40 years experience as an Engineering Photography consultant working with the best forensic witnesses on many of the major cases during those decades, and upon his membership and participation in major engineering societies.
Each year. Mr. Kayfetz helps attorneys win and save hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements. This results primarily from his experience and expertise. It also stems from his ability to discover measurements from existing photos. PAUL KAYFETZ, INC are ahead of everyone in their field because they invest in HD cameras costing $250,000 each, six figure computer systems, custom engineering computer programs, and staff engineers - not artists.
A major part of their work is evaluating and keeping out of evidence opponents' forensic photography, computer simulations, or computer animations which do not comply with the rules of evidence. This has swung multi-million dollar results several times in recent years.
The explanation then given is a basic, but little understood, fundamental of the presentation of a visibility study in court. A visibility study depicts what is available to be seen by a person with normal, unimpaired vision under defined conditions similar enough to those at issue to provide relevant information about levels of visibility, lines-of-sight, timing of visibility, and to demonstrate expert witness(es)' opinions.
Jurors jumped as the wild boar in the motorcycle headlights suddenly filled the large screen in front of them.A week later they awarded the motorcyclist several million dollars against Caltrans for not mitigating a chronic wild pig problem on Highway One in Monterey County. The jury found that the motorcyclist had a 0.10 blood alcohol level and was negligent, but that our HD-video visibility study showed that even an unimpaired driver could not have seen the pig in time to avoid it.
The objective of this article is to report on the integration of improved video and related computer technology into existing, long-accepted visibility study preparation and presentation methodologies. The result has been an incremental extension of the types of visual environments which can be reproduced with substantial similarity for admission as visibility evidentiary exhibits in court
Rapperport Associates, Inc., provides exceptional capability in Failure Analysis, Fire and Explosion Investigation, Accident Reconstruction, Structural Analysis, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials Science. We have provided superior technical support for litigation since 1974, and possess an extraordinarily talented technical team with impeccable academic and industrial credentials and proven analysis capability. Our team of distinguished scientists and engineers is drawn principally from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and Stanford University.
Kristopher J. Seluga, PE, is a Mechanical Engineering, Accident Reconstruction, Biomechanics, and Safety Expert with over 20 years of experience. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Mechanical Engineering department at MIT where he worked on the development of novel three-dimensional printing technologies.
Mr. Seluga is also a licensed Professional Engineer in New York and Connecticut, and has served as a member of the ANSI engineering committee for the Z130.1 and Z135 standards for golf cars and PTV’s. His research interests and peer reviewed publications span the topics of Motor Vehicle Dynamics, Product Safety, and Biomechanics.
Litigation Support - Mr. Seluga has been working as a forensic engineer at Technology Associates since 2001. He has investigated 100s of accidents for both plaintiffs and defendants. Mr. Seluga has been qualified to testify as an expert in state and federal court and is experienced in testifying in depositions and trials. He has successfully defeated Daubert / Frye challenges and can prepare and explain compelling exhibits at trial.
Airbags are credited with reducing numerous injuries and saving many lives during vehicle accidents. However, there have been incidents where they do not function as intended, and have even caused injuries such as explosive powder burns, detached eye retinas, child suffocation and impact deaths.
Animations are useful visual tools that can help jurors understand how an incident could, or could not, have occurred. Simply describing an event in court, or showing still pictures, may be insufficient to explain a complex sequence of events.
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.
When an understanding of complex motions associated with various accidents is required, computer simulation is an invaluable tool, which allows the modeling and visualization of rollovers and collisions. In addition to vehicle accidents, computer simulation can also be used to create many other systems of masses and contacting surfaces, such as a toppling light pole after it has been struck.
Construction sites and equipment present many hazards if proper care is not taken. The space in and around a construction site is often filled with potentially dangerous, high-powered equipment capable of delivering high forces.
Doors and gates, whether automated or manual, can pose a serious hazard to users if not designed, manufactured, installed and maintained properly. The different types include automatic doors, overhead garage doors, elevator doors, sliding doors, swinging doors, and automatic gates.
Electric fires are becoming more common as appliances and electric feeds are used more and more in our daily lives. Like other fires, the root cause of an electric fire is the introduction of heat, oxygen, and fuel.
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.
Second only to automobile accidents, falls are the leading cause of injury and deaths. Of these, accidents due to slipping or tripping form a large proportion. Slips and trips occur on floors, streets, walkways, stairs, etc.
Forklifts, industrial trucks, skid steer loaders, bobcats and other similar material-handling machines are often difficult to maneuver and susceptible to a wide range of accidents. Their nature exposes operators and nearby co-workers to falling loads, crushing hazards and lading dock falls.
There are roughly 9,000 golf cart related accidents requiring emergency room treatment in the United States each year. The majority of these accidents are related to either braking, cart rollover or passenger ejection. These problems are common to golf carts due to their open design, lack of seatbelts, poor braking capabilities and the uneven terrains they are driven on.
The primary function of all guarding is to prevent an operator or bystander from being injured by a potentially dangerous portion of a machine. Often the hazard involves moving parts with the potential to cut, crush or draw-in body parts, although barrier guards may also be necessary when electrical, thermal or chemical dangers are present.
Human Factors and Ergonomics (HFE) is a branch of science, which is concerned with man’s interaction with his universe. Thus, it is not simply the study of pure science (e.g. sound or light), but rather man’s understanding and reactions (e.g. to hear and see).
There are over 100,000 ladder accidents annually in the U.S. requiring hospital emergency room treatment. Although many of these result from user misuse, such as an improper extension ladder lean angle against a wall causing it to slip outward, use of a damaged ladder, or failing to lock a step ladder’s spreaders, many ladders fail due to design or manufacturing defects.
Motorcycles, like passenger cars, are capable of high speeds and must share the road with other vehicles. However, unlike passenger cars, motorcycles are capable of rapid accelerations, offer little protection to the operator during a collision and require special skills to maneuver effectively.
In many vehicle accident investigations, it is necessary to know not only the speeds and motions of the vehicles involved, but the causes of injuries suffered by their occupants as well. Such investigations seek to answer questions regarding occupant ejection, effects of seatbelt use, airbag deployment and body-interior impacts.
Parking lots are the scene of many pedestrian accidents because of the close proximity of people and cars and the confusing traffic patterns that sometimes exist. In addition to pedestrian-vehicle collisions, many trip and fall accidents occur in parking lots as well.
Though swimming pool accidents are sometimes the result of reckless participant behavior, they can also be caused by inadequate supervision, warnings, structures, or defective pool design. Structures commonly found in or near swimming pools include slides, ladders, diving surfaces and fencing.
Approximately 125,000 serious injuries occur in the US each year related to the use of portable and fixed power saws. Lacerations and similar injuries, such as abrasions and avulsions, account for over 90% of these, which generally occur to males and result in losses in the tens of millions of dollars annually.
An end user of a product expects that a given product will not only function as intended, but will be safe from non-obvious hazards. Based upon decades of experience with mishaps during use of common and specialized equipment, thousands of standards have been developed for many consumer products and industrial equipment. Numerous organizations exist, e.g., ANSI, ASTM, SAE, and ASME, that regularly review and update these standards.
Places of business, residences, parking and recreational areas contain potential accident sources such as slippery floors and stairs, product displays, automatic doors, ledges, railings, elevators, escalators and other hazardous items. To prevent such items from causing injury to the public, premises owners and their agents have a responsibility to recognize unsafe conditions and exercise reasonable care to maintain or make conditions safe, or warn the public of the risks involved.
Supermarkets, pharmacies, home improvement, and department stores expose their customers to many potential accident sources such as floors and aisles, which can become unsafe, and display merchandize that can topple or cause tripping. To prevent such accidents from occurring, these establishments should maintain routine scheduled inspections to insure that unsafe conditions are detected and corrected before accidents occur.
In many vehicle rollover investigations, it is necessary to know not only the speeds and motions of the vehicles involved, but the causes of injuries suffered by their occupants as well. Such investigations seek to answer questions regarding occupant ejection, effects of seatbelt use, roof crush and body-interior impacts.
Motor vehicle seatbelt use provides highly effective protection in frontal collisions for impact angles up to 30 degrees off-center (i.e. between 11 and 1 o’clock). All states have laws requiring their use for front seat passengers, as they have been shown to reduce moderate to severe injuries by 50%. They are less effective when your car is hit in the rear or side and sometimes their locking devices malfunction or the anchorage gives way.
Recreation, sports, and gym equipment are subjected to large dynamic forces and must be designed to support these loads and protect users from unintentional hazards. Adequate instructions and warnings may be required if their assembly and proper use are not obvious.
Codes and standards specify criteria necessary to ensure that a product, material or process will consistently and safely perform its intended function. Although standards provide minimum design requirements, conforming to a standard is not always sufficient in preventing an accident.
Structural failure can often produce catastrophic results. In many cases, the damage seen after the accident is not indicative of the cause of the initial failure. Fortunately, based on physical evidence, an investigator can frequently determine how and why a structure failed.
Heavy trucks, whether tractor-trailers, construction vehicles or garbage haulers, are involved in many serious traffic accidents due to their large weight, high centers of gravity, decreased visibility, poor handling and reduced braking efficiency. In addition, articulated tractor-trailers are subject to additional problems such as jack-knife and trailer sway instabilities.
Motor vehicle accidents are the most common type of incidents producing injury in the US. The main issues in litigating automotive accidents involve vehicle speeds, seatbelt usage, airbag deployment, vehicle component failure (e.g. steering, braking), roadway design, occupant biomechanics, rollover, visibility, etc.
A person’s interaction with his environment comes largely from visual cues. Without this information, a pedestrian can trip over an unseen object or a driver might not detect a dangerous situation. In order to avoid these hazards, a person requires adequate lighting and should be provided with appropriate illumination for a given task.
A warning must inform individuals of a danger, which would not be obvious to them. It must tell them how to avoid the danger, and be easily understood. It should also provide them with the consequences of not heading the warning.
A car is stopped for a light when it is unexpectedly rear-ended causing little or no damage to either vehicle. Nevertheless, the passengers of the struck vehicle complain of neck, shoulder and back pain. Insurance claim representatives, attorneys, medical, engineering and biomedical experts are then brought in and various conflicting allegations, testimony and opinions are expressed.
Pedestrian and bicycle accidents in the United States result in approximately 80,000 and 50,000 injuries each year, respectively. Though pedestrians and bicycles move differently, they share important characteristics as both have little protection during a roadway collision with a motor vehicle.
A standard can be defined as a document issued by a recognized agency, and dealing with design and/or safety requirements relating to a specific product or type of activity. Such agencies include the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (051-IA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). OSHA standards are generally legally binding for an employer, while ANSI standards are generally of an advisory nature. The term "industry standard," however, is ordinarily taken to have a broader meaning, including formal standards as just defined, and also including designs and procedures not required in formal standards, though prevailing in a specific industry, and which represent generally accepted custom and practice.
Persons with no training in engineering are generally unaware of the nature of engineering analysis, and so tend to assume that testing, as a means of determining the causation of accidents, is a dominant tool of the engineer. In the following examples, we shall undertake to explain the nature of engineering analysis, and to show that it is more basic than testing because testing without analysis is meaningless. Further, while analysis is always necessary in accident reconstruction, testing is only sometimes necessary.
Second to automobile accidents, accidents due to falls are the leading cause of injury and death. Of these, accidents due to slipping (not tripping) form a large proportion. Slipping may occur on floors, walkways, and stairs or steps. For Introductory purposes, however, the present discussion will be limited to slipping on flat surfaces such as a floor or sidewalk.
When a person becomes aware of a dangerous situation, a time-interval must elapse before he can take defensive action against it. This time interval, commonly called the reaction time, has been found to be about 0.7 second for all normal persons, regardless of their background and training. This suggests that the reaction time depends on some basic aspect of the human physiology-involving the brain, nervous system, and muscles-which does not vary much from person to person.
A car is stopped for a light when it is unexpectedly rear-ended by a vehicle from behind. It is not a hard impact and there is little or no damage to either vehicle, because the energy absorbing bumpers have protected them. Nevertheless, the passengers of the struck vehicle complain of neck, shoulder and back pain. The next day they allegedly experience even greater pain and visit a medical person who claims that they have been injured. Insurance claim representatives, attorneys, medical, engineering and biomedical experts are then brought in and various conflicting allegations, testimony and opinions are expressed. Do we have a legitimate injury claim on our hands or a situation of fraud?
Accident reconstructionists are often called on to determine the distance that a car, covers while being braked to a stop. Conversely, the reconstructionist may be given information as to the length of the skidmarks left by a car on the roadway, and may be asked to determine how fast the car must have been going at the beginning of the skid. An expert can accomplish this with considerable accuracy, based on a knowledge of the physical principles that are involved, plus available information relating to the friction of tires on various types of road surfaces.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), there are approximately 10,000 golf car related injuries requiring emergency room treatment in the US each year. One significant mode of injury in golf car accidents is passenger ejection, which can lead to serious injuries, especially of the head. Based on CPSC statistics, roughly 35% of golf car accidents involve a person falling out of the car. In addition to ejection accidents, at least 10% of golf car accidents involve a rollover and statistics indicate that such accidents are roughly twice as likely to lead to injuries requiring a hospital stay as non-rollover accidents.
According to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) accident estimates, tens of thousands of stepladder accidents requiring emergency room treatment occurred annually in the United States. Approximately 85-90% of these accidents involve the user falling from the ladder and 8-9% of these injuries are serious enough to require that the victim be admitted to a hospital. In addition to posing a severe health concern, these accidents have significant loss-of-wages and high medical expense implications.
Participation of the proper automotive expert in a personal injury lawsuit can govern its success. This article develops four basic principles to optimize their use, while minimizing their cost, and describes some important techniques used by the accident reconstructionist