Engineering Experts and Transportation Claims/Litigation

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Engineering Experts & Transportation Claims/Litigations

On the Scene E-Newsletter, Edition 114, April 26, 2010

20100426_1Trucking, railroad, aviation, and maritime are the most common modes of commercial transportation. Typically, there are several aspects of transportation accidents that require engineering experts in litigation.

CED engineering experts may be involved in any or all of the following aspects of transportation litigation:

·         Rules of the road/Navigation issues

·         Human factors associated with operation of equipment

·         Mechanical aspects of engine propulsion

·         Engine maintenance / Standard of care issues

·         Accident reconstruction

Navigation of vessels, travel on roadways, or through aerospace involve rules and protocol for safe transit. Of course, there is also stability issues associated with safe loading of transportation platforms as well as safe stopping distances associated with various speeds. Engineers investigate equipment failures and accidents involving these factors. Engineers also opine on the ‘Human Factors’ associated with humans and the equipment they operate. Visibility, perception & reaction time, and even guarding and warning labels may be contributing factors to transportation claims and litigation.

Engineers are the appropriate experts to opine upon the mechanical aspects of engine operation and propulsion. Many CED mechanical engineers have experience designing and operating the engines that provide propulsion for aviation, maritime, and trucking. Oftentimes, litigation associated with engines involves material science, specifically metallurgy (analysis of failed metallic components). Specific reasons for failure or quality of manufacturing can be determined under a high power electron microscope.


Maintenance records oftentimes uncover contributing factors to equipment failure. Engineering experts understand the machinery and associated maintenance/service requirements, as well as potential lack of attention and proper standards of care. Historical issues with equipment or recalls are also areas where an engineering expert can provide opinions to help resolve a claim or litigation.


Finally, accident reconstruction is a science in itself and often leads to resolution of compelling reasons as to why the equipment failed or how the accident happened. Engineering experts can recreate the accident/failure under same conditions or present worst case scenarios to qualify likelihood of events. An output of accident reconstruction is usually the force at play in the accident/failure. These forces can be inputs for a biomechanical engineer to opine on the likelihood of injuries sustained in the accident.


Transportation claims and litigation are often complex scenarios and may involve several technical aspects. CED recognizes this fact and has assembled a team of engineering experts who have a vast history of transportation experiences and professional engineer’s licenses ranging from mechanical to chemical.