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Vehicle accidents: Example Cases

• Collision with stationary vehicle on highway at night
Vehicle of thirty-year-old man, who was driving to work on highway at night, collided with second vehicle in right-hand lane that had run out of gas. The second driver had left the vehicle; the first driver sustained substantial injuries.

It was a clear night, with no other traffic. The lights of the stalled car were on. The highway had been under construction. There was no illumination from moon or highway lights. The second driver placed no flares or other warnings.

The plaintiff's attorney retained the human factors expert. After expert read depositions, reviewed diagrams of highway and lighting placement at the time of the incident, and interviewed the plaintiff, he provided deposition testimony on night vision, visual illusions, lighting, human information processing, visibility of obstacles and reaction time. Case settled before trial.

• Collision of suspended roller coaster passenger with customer on ground
Twenty-five-year-old theme park patron entered area beneath suspended roller coaster to retrieve the hat his wife had dropped previously while riding the roller coaster. While retrieving the hat, the roller coaster passed overhead and the leg of one of the passengers struck him in the head, killing him. The passenger sustained substantial injuries to her leg.

The gate surrounding the area beneath the roller coaster had not been locked. The deceased patron neither spoke nor read English. Warning signs on the fence were in English. The track for the roller coaster cars was about 12 above the ground.

The plaintiff's attorney retained the human factors expert. After the expert read the ride operation and safety manuals, read depositions, reviewed diagrams of the ride, and conducted a site inspection, he provided deposition and trial testimony on human factors design issues, visual perception and cognition, human information processing, effective instructions and warnings, and safety practices. Case settled during trial.

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