Biomechanics Expert Witness in Slip and Fall Cases


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A biomechanics expert may be needed when there is a slip and fall case to determine various factors related to the body, anatomy and how the human body has been harmed through these incidents. If the accident occurred at work, there are additional elements that may be involved such as negligence or intentional harm.

Biomechanics expert witnesses are hired to help the case through explaining the disruption of the various parts of the body due to external and internal forces. When this is due to a slip and fall incident, there are certain regions of the body that are affected with more severity than others such as the bones, muscles and joints. Broken bones are often easier to mend than a muscle or joint damaged beyond repair. These issues are explained and detailed to the courtroom by an expert witness in these situations. His or her testimony is what shows the jury or judge why compensation is needed.

Some slip and fall accidents occur at work where workers’ compensation claims are necessary. However, if the employer or a third-party vendor is responsible, a court case may be needed to resolve the matter. Negligence could cause a slip and fall accident through cords, debris and other items on the floor. There are additional elements that could exist such as slippery product, buffered tile and carpet. Many different factors could cause or lead to a slip and fall incident. When these issues are not minimized for employees, the owner of the company or management may be liable for damages.

Factors of a Case

When the company or facility has maintained that adequate warning signs were in place so guests and others are made aware of the tripping hazards, it is more difficult to successfully claim negligence and similar liability issues. However, an expert witness may assist with these factors. Based on the injuries and how they occurred, it may be possible to ascertain that the responsible party is the company or building. A reconstruction of the incident is necessary in certain situations, and this is used to show how the facility, business or agency is liable for damages.

Walkways should be free of clutter. Steps that are slippery must be clearly labeled. Carpets that cause tripping accident should be avoided or those stepping on them need warnings of this hazard. Thin carpeting could prevent these injurious situations altogether. Additionally, if the company or person did not warn the injured of potential dangers, he or she could be responsible if it is his or her building or business. A biomechanics expert uses the injuries of the body to discover where the danger was and how extensive the object, material or equipment damage is to the body.

The Biomechanics Expert at Work

Through carefully examining the victim of the slip and fall incident, the medical documentation and consulting other medical experts, the biomechanics expert witness may have enough to determine if the injuries are consistent with a trip and fall accident. While this may not explain if it occurred while at work, there should be other evidence to suggest this is the location where the incident happened. The medical treatment needed to recover from the circumstances should show why compensation is necessary, and the expert then may detail more information as to why more compensation for the incident is needed. If the fall was serious and the injures severe, the healthcare attached is generally more expensive.

Another aspect the expert may need to explore is keeping his or her testimony strictly in the biomechanics field. If a professional in the medical field is needed, he or she could explain the injuries fully and in conjunction with the biomechanics expert, it may be detailed that the accident was a slip and fall. Some judges may not permit a single expert to encompass these wounds unless the professional also has a medical degree and associated experience with healthcare procedures. However, if the expert sticks to the evidence and connects it to what is typical of a trip and fall incident, the information may be permitted.

Testimony of a Biomechanics Expert

The testimony of expert witnesses is often questioned, but when it is relevant to the subject matter in the courtroom and relied upon tested and reproducible methods, these challenges may be unsuccessful to cause the testimony of an expert to be inadmissible. Then, the weight of the professional’s words is given more importance, and the facts may provide the needed information to deliberate appropriately.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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