Walkway Defect or Human Error?

Robert J. Nobilini, Ph.D., Biomechanical Engineer ::::
Case Synopsis: Plaintiff was a middle-aged male, who incurred a rupture of his patella tendon while playing basketball. He claimed that his injury was due to him stepping into a patched area on the court surface that he contended was depressed by about 2 to 3 inches. It was requested that a biomechanical analysis be performed to determine if there was a causal relationship between the alleged court defect and the plaintiff’s injury.
Expert Analysis: The patella tendon is part of the extensor mechanism of the knee. It is loaded every time the knee is extended. Biomechanical studies have quantified the load on the patella tendon as a multiple of body weight for various activities. Activities such as ascending stairs, running, kicking a soccer ball, and landing from a jump exert a force of 3.2 to 11 times body weight on the patella tendon, while the failure load of a healthy patella tendon is about 17.5 times body weight. Continue reading “Walkway Defect or Human Error?”

Roller Coaster Roulette

Rollercoaster Accident

Robert J. Nobilini, Ph.D., Biomechanical Engineer ::::
Case Synopsis: The plaintiff was injured while riding a roller coaster. He testified that the ride was “awfully bumpy” and when the ride ended, he was unable to move. He was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a distraction fracture and spinal cord injury at the C6-7 level of his cervical spine along with previously undiagnosed ankylosing spondylitis.
Expert Analysis: An examination of the subject roller coaster revealed the presences of brackets on the sides of the track. These brackets contained adjustment screws, which pushed inward on the rails of the track. It was observed that numerous brackets were broken and/or non-functional. Subsequently, it was discovered that these brackets had been installed sometime after the initial installation of the ride in order to maintain the gauge of the track. Continue reading “Roller Coaster Roulette”