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Forensic Engineer: Types of Forensic Engineering Highlighting Its Importance

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The word forensic engineering automatically creates an image in our mind where professionals are investigating crime scenes. However, it is so much more than that. It also involves studying and investigating structural failures and determining the cause for a collapse of a building, a bridge, or even damages on a smaller scale.

Forensic engineering is the branch of engineering that includes multiple engineering disciplines such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and even computer engineering that is used to study the data, analyze it and then evaluate the results of the findings. In Forensic engineering, the principles of engineering are applied to investigate failures.

The investigations under forensic individuals are performed by a licensed professional engineer who uses their skills and some form of reverse engineering to determine the cause of failure.

Who Benefits from Forensic Engineering Investigations:

Forensic engineering is widely used by insurance or legal professionals who want to gain a deeper understanding of the incident and insights into the things leading to the loss. The main objective of a professional Origin and Cause forensic engineer is to find the cause of the failure or an incident.

Insurance agents or legal professionals can use this insight during legal proceedings to evaluate the right compensation for the loss and also to prevent such incidents in the future.

Different Types of Forensic Engineering?

1. Liability Contested Claims

The contested liability refers to an issue concerned with the reason behind the failure and who was responsible for it. Product Failure: A product can fail for a variety of reasons including a failure in testing to determine a design flaw in the product, improper installation, manufacturing deficiencies. or error in maintenance. experts conduct a microscopic and macroscopic examination to determine the cause.

Collision Reconstruction: By using forensic science computer simulations. hand calculations, laws of physics, physical evidence, the experts focus on studying how the collision occurred and determine the speed and dynamic of the vehicle.

Municipal and Civil Engineering: The forensic engineers study the design, geometry of the road, the use of traffic signs,  steps taken for winter maintenance, and roadside safety to determine where the road is designed in accordance with the applicable standards and codes.

Human Factors and Driver Behavior: The investigator determines the response time of the individual and perception reaction time to show if the collision would or would not have been avoidable.

Slip, Trip, and Falls: This area of forensic engineering studies whether or not there was a code or standard violation such as a pothole in a parking spot. Also, they conduct standard slip testing to determine whether or not there was sufficient traction on the floor to prevent slipping.

2. Evidence Preservation

As the name suggests, evidence preservation is concerned with preserving the evidence. It is used in cases with red flags, catastrophic injuries, conflicting information, etc. With scientific analysis, technical knowledge, and industry experience to interpret evidence.

Infotainment System: Infotainment is made of two words, information and entertainment and an infotainment system refers to the system that controls it. In this branch of forensic engineering, the expert study, contact list, GPS tracklogs, the use of cell phones, and other information can be used to pinpoint the behavior of a driver.

Vehicle and Mechanical Examination: In this examination, the investigation takes several pictures of the interior and exterior of the vehicle and assesses the digital scans, settlement, and the impact of the crush.

Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs): These codes offer valuable information about the vehicle malfunction and offer insight into the underlying issues.

Black Box (EDR): Black Box is the vehicle’s Event Data Recorder that takes a snapshot of crash-related data just 5 seconds before the collision. It can also provide helpful insight into the seatbelt use, speed of the vehicle, accelerator, brake pedal use, and the severity of the collision.

3. Fraud Detection

Fraud Detection is aimed at gaining insight into a deceptive action done intentionally. These include:

Automotive Fire: The investigator studies the cause of the fire and the conditions leading up to the incident. They include testing and disassembly.

Vehicle Thefts: By using various evidence presentation tools, the expert performs an analysis to get better insight into fraudulent claims.

Staged Collision: Investigators study the whole incident to determine whether or not the collision was staged.

4. Damages Contested Claims

The contested damages refer to the disagreement regarding the monetary value of a claim.

Forensic Injury Biomechanics: The expert studies the type of collision, its severity and then determines the mechanism of the injury based on the investigation. These investigations include crash test dummies, computer models, isolated tissue testing, postpartum cadavers, naturalistic studies, or volunteer human subjects.

Disclaimer: The Varsity’s editorial department was not involved.