When products or equipment fail, it can lead to serious injuries or significant business losses. Failures can be a function of the design, manufacture, installation, maintenance, alteration or inappropriate use of the product or equipment. Using forensic engineering methods, we determine what happened, why it happened, whether it was preventable and whether it was foreseeable.
Areas we typically address in forensic engineering:
- What led to the injury or loss (what happened in the accident or what caused the equipment to fail)
- The role of the people, methods, and product or equipment involved in the accident or failure
- We suggest materials or information that might be available based on our experience in similar circumstances to aid in discovery
- We analyze discovery responses to help determine whether additional information might be available based on what has already been provided
- We research regulations and standards (ANSI, ISO, ASME, OSHA, industry standards, industry practices, etc.) to determine which ones are applicable to this situation and then we evaluate the product or equipment to determine the level of compliance
- We research the state-of-the-art for equipment design at the time the product or equipment was built to see what information was available to the manufacturer
- We inspect the equipment (or review the design drawings when the equipment is not available for inspection) to see that it has the appropriate labels and warnings
- We review user manuals to evaluate the adequacy and appropriateness of the user instructions, warnings, etc.
- We often develop questions for witnesses or opposing exerts to elicit relevant information or to help clarify essence and identify the basis of their testimony or opinions
- When specialized expertise is necessary to evaluate a product or piece of equipment, we will find experts with the appropriate background