car accident lawyer

What Is A Biomechanical Expert?

If you have a motor vehicle accident and have to file a lawsuit to seek compensation, it is assured that the insurance company and their attorneys will do everything they can to fight your claim.  They hire a battery of experts – most of which they probably have hired time and time again – to try to poke holes in your claims as a car accident lawyer knows all too well.  One of their favorite experts in cases where there may not be severe property damage to the vehicles is to hire a biomechanical expert to challenge whether the impact would have been able to cause your injury at all.

A biomechanical expert, also known as a biomechanical engineer or biomechanist, is a professional who applies principles of mechanics, physics, and biology to study the mechanical aspects of living organisms. These experts analyze how forces affect the body’s structure and function, particularly in relation to movement and injury.

In the context of accidents, biomechanical experts may be called upon to analyze injuries sustained by individuals involved in incidents such as car crashes, slips and falls, or workplace accidents. According to Kiefer & Kiefer, they use their understanding of biomechanics to assess factors such as impact forces, body positioning, and the response of tissues and bones to determine the mechanisms of injury.

Some specific roles and responsibilities of biomechanical experts include:

  • Injury Analysis: Examining medical records, imaging studies, and accident reconstructions to assess the causes and severity of injuries sustained in accidents.
  • Expert Testimony: Providing expert testimony in legal proceedings to explain complex biomechanical concepts to judges, juries, and attorneys.
  • Accident Reconstruction: Collaborating with accident reconstructionists and forensic engineers to analyze the dynamics of accidents and determine factors such as vehicle speeds, occupant kinematics, and injury causation.
  • Product Liability: Assessing the safety and performance of consumer products, medical devices, and industrial equipment to determine if design flaws or manufacturing defects contributed to injuries.
  • Research and Development: Conducting research to advance the understanding of biomechanics and develop new techniques, materials, and technologies to improve injury prevention and treatment.

Biomechanical experts typically have advanced degrees in biomechanical engineering, mechanical engineering, or a related field, along with specialized training and experience in biomechanics and injury analysis. They may work in various settings, including consulting firms, research institutions, government agencies, and academic institutions.

In many jurisdictions, courts have started to severely limit what these experts are able to testify about.  For example, because many neurosurgeons and orthopedists, experts in medical causation and injuries, admit that even a minor impact can cause a major injury, many courts are limiting these biomechanical experts, disallowing them to give testimony about whether the forces in the accident could cause injury, and limiting their testimony to the force of the impact itself.

If you have a major injury from a minor impact, it is important to hire an attorney who is experienced handling minor impact cases, who knows how to cross-examine these experts and how to file Motions with the Court to attempt to limit their testimony.  If their testimony is not limited or discredited, it can be very powerful in confusing a jury into thinking a minor impact cannot cause a major injury – something completely contradicted by actual medical professionals. Contact a lawyer near you for help.