Biomechanical engineering is a very advanced, scientific discipline which has a wide range of applications in a number of very diverse fields. One such field, believe it or not, is the legal industry. The testimony of biomechanical engineers can have a major impact on a case because these highly trained experts can often provide information that everyday men and women may not have previously considered. As such whenever we are faced with a trucking accident case that could be affected by the testimony of a biomechanical engineer we are always happy and eager to bring one in as an expert witness to better serve our clients. Let’s discuss exactly how a biomechanical engineer can potentially affect the case.
WHAT IS BIOMECHANICS?
The first thing to understand is exactly what a biomechanical engineer is, and in order to do that, it is imperative to understand what biomechanics itself is. Biomechanics is the technique of understanding living, biological systems such as human beings, animals, plants, and cellular life, etc. by viewing them through the lens of a mechanical perspective and by applying mechanical principles to their functioning. Thus the biological organism will be studied and understood in terms of how it works as a mechanical system with independent and interrelated parts working together to perform a function.
WHAT IS A BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEER?
With that in mind, it is easier to understand that a biomechanical engineer is thus an engineer in the discipline of biomechanics. As a side note biomechanics is sometimes considered to be a sub-discipline of the broader biomedical field and there is some overlap in terms of what is done and how things are approached. A biomechanical engineer, like a biomedical engineer, will have a very large pool of knowledge and expertise in a range of subjects such as engineering, anatomy, biology, and chemistry to name just a few. However, the biomechanical engineer will typically have a greater focus on the engineering and mechanical side of things.
A biomechanical engineer is a very thoroughly trained and certified individual. The minimum level of education required to work in the field is a Bachelor’s degree, but often companies and organizations prefer candidates who have completed Master’s degrees or even Doctoral degrees. In addition to these educational requirements it is not uncommon for some states and countries to also require the biomechanical engineer to pass a licensing exam before he or she can legally work in certain positions.
WHAT DO BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERS DO IN TRUCKING ACCIDENT CASES?
A biomechanical engineer is uniquely situated to be of valuable assistance in a trucking accident case because the engineer will be able to evaluate and interpret the forces at play during the collision and then with their knowledge of the human body and how it is impacted by such forces they can apply that data in such a way that will help them evaluate just how destructive the accident forces were on the human body. Thus they actually will take a two step approach. First interpreting the raw data from the more mechanical engineering side of their expertise to determine what kind of force occurred. Then filtering this information through what they know of biological systems and how they were be affected by the forces resulting from the accident.
One of the most important concepts to understand about an accident is that the primary damaging forces occur as a result of the change in velocity that the occupants of the vehicles experience. In simple terms this can be understood from the old adage about how falling isn’t the problem, but rather it is the hitting of the ground. In such a case the person accelerates as they plummet toward the ground, and it is the actual abrupt stopping that causes injury. Their velocity goes from very fast, to very slow almost instantly and this creates forces which hurt the person. The same occurs in a trucking accident. The occupant of the vehicle is traveling at a very high velocity – the speed of their car – and then they abruptly decelerate at a very fast rate due to the collision. This change in velocity is what causes the injuries. A biomechanical engineer while be responsible for calculating exactly how much force came into play as a result of this sudden change in velocity.
The biomechanical engineer will also look at such factors as the vehicle’s construction, seat belts, headrests, air bags, and other contributing pieces of information to determine how they mitigated or exacerbated the effects of the collision. As you can imagine this process gets very complicated and that is why having a trained, highly-qualified expert to perform these calculations is of the essence. A small error in the numbers involved can yield dramatically different results in such cases.
After all of the information about the forces involved in the accident have been evaluated the biomechanical engineer will then apply that to how the actual living person would have been affected by them. This involves understanding how the various systems of the body react to stresses and how much they are able withstand before serious injury occurs. These factors often vary significantly depending on the actual person involved. Individual characteristics such as the person’s weight and height, as well as other personal criteria, will greatly affect how the person fares during the accident. Once again having a well-trained expert who can look at all of this information in terms of how it relates to the bigger picture is imperative.
HOW THE TESTIMONY OF BIOMECHANCIAL ENGINEERS CAN INFLUENCE A CASE
The testimony of a biomechanical engineer can have a very big impact on a jury or judge because it further helps put everything into perspective for the judge and jury. It is also often very moving and emotionally affecting to hear this trained expert describe in detail what the victim’s body would have been going through and how the forces would have been affecting them. It is typically something which most people can easily empathize with and as such it can be an extremely effective tool for making the judge or jury more sympathetic to the injuries that the victim sustained.
Rest assured that when it comes to hiring a biomechanical engineer to testify in an accident case, the attorneys at the Dugas Law Firm are well prepared. We can make this determination for you and we can find the necessary expert to testify. We are committed to doing everything we can to get you a fair and just settlement as compensation for the injuries and suffering that you have experienced as a result of your trucking-related accident.