Expertly Speaking


A Roadway & Vehicle “Feature Identification” Case Scenario

Laurence R. Penn, Senior Forensic Animation/Video Specialist ::::



DJS Associates, Inc., was retained to analyze dashcam footage of a collision involving a tow truck that was dispatched to assist with a vehicle located on the right shoulder of the roadway due to mechanical difficulties. Prior to the collision, the tow truck traveled in the middle of three lanes, and as it approached its destination merged into the right lane. For whatever reason, a school bus traveling in the right lane failed to slow and yield to the tow truck entering its lane of travel, and instead drove onto the shoulder. Just as the bus passed the tow truck, it failed to notice the handicapped vehicle, and impacted the stopped car with devastating effect.

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Terry and His Drone

Jon W. Adams, Director of 3D Reality Capture ::::

A morning in the life of Terry Myers…

4:00 AM

It is the dead of night. Terry Myers stirs in his sleep, slowly awakening to the theme music from Law & Order. He did not fall asleep with the TV on, watching his favorite show… Instead, this is the ringtone that Terry has assigned to calls that come from his place of business, DJS Associates.

There is an emerging situation which requires a forensic field crew to investigate the scene where a traffic collision has occurred, just hours ago.

4:45 AM

Terry looks over his equipment packed in his Ford Escape (AKA DJS 1), mentally checking boxes, as he accounts for each tool he will need to utilize once he arrives at the scene. DJS protocols states that all site inspections are to include 3D laser scanning, terrestrial photographs and video, measuring wheel measurements, and data captured from a new perspective: the drone.

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Aquatic Safety Expert

Fitness Club Settles Quickly with Drowning Victim’s Family

Tom J. Griffiths, Ed.D., Aquatic Safety Consultant ::::

Fitness clubs and hotels are often exempt from the lifeguard requirement. Regardless, these businesses still need to protect and safeguard their guests, especially those swimming in their pools, as the swimming pool is the most hazardous area within the confines of the building. Although these swimming pools are typically “Swim At Your Own Risk” swimming pools, they cannot be ignored by staff, owners, and operators. When lifeguards are not employed by Fitness Clubs, frequent patrols of the pools should take place, and the staff should be trained to handle emergencies.

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Tax Return Expert Witness

Business Loss… Fact or Fiction

Marion Wickersham, MS, CICA, Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination Consultant ::::

Case Synopsis: The self-employed owner of a pizzeria restaurant was allegedly injured in a trip and fall incident in 2014. Plaintiff’s expert argued that as a result of the injury, the plaintiff would have to close the pizzeria, but could obtain alternative employment elsewhere, claiming a loss of almost $1 million dollars.

Expert Analysis: Based upon an analysis of the documents provided in this case, specifically the plaintiff’s tax returns, it was determined that the plaintiff did not incur a loss directly and solely as a result of the subject incident. According to the tax records provided, the pizzeria’s net profits averaged around $30,000 for the five years preceding the subject incident, which were comparable to the net profits earned the year after the subject incident in 2015, also totaling around $30,000. Net profits of a business are subject to fluctuation based on many factors or variables including the economy and competition, among others. This is highlighted by the pizzeria’s gross sales, which fluctuated as high as around $250,000 in 2014 and as low as around $189,000 in 2013. Following the subject incident, the pizzeria’s gross sales remained in that same range; around $203,000 in 2015 and around $184,000 in 2016.

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Automatic Gate

Automatic Gate Closes on Man

John R. Yannaccone, PE, Senior Mechanical Engineer ::::

Case Synopsis: One evening at closing time, an employee at a self-storage facility opened an electric gate to allow a car to drive out of the facility. As the driver was leaving, he stopped his car in the path of the gate to talk to an employee and a customer. The customer was standing next to the stopped car, adjacent to the gate. Suddenly, the gate began to close and pinned the customer between the gate and the car. The driver moved forward to prevent the gate from hitting his car, but this caused the pinned customer to be twisted between the car and gate, resulting in additional injury.

Expert Analysis: By the time an engineer was retained to investigate the cause of the incident, the storage facility had replaced the gate operator and disposed of the system in use at the time of the incident. Based on the materials provided, the following was determined:

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Independent Recalls and Potential Vehicle Fire Concerns

R. Scott King, Principal Mechanical Engineer ::::

For obvious reasons, the prevention of vehicle fires, both crash and non-crash related, is and always has been a priority at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). When needed, NHTSA facilitates – and sometimes mandates – vehicle recalls to remedy potential defects. From identifying emerging failure trends, to providing remedial oversight, to monitoring consumer compliance rates, NHTSA remains an important element in minimizing vehicle fire risk. Recently, NHTSA issued several seemingly independent recalls of over 500,000 Kia and Hyundai vehicles due to potential fire concerns.

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