Vehicle Accidents

Our expertise

Our experience and knowledge of human information processing and human factors engineering enables us to analyze environmental and behavioral issues to render an expert opinion about the factors that contributed to an accident.

How we help

Cases have included automobile, bicycle, construction, and theme-park incidents, with issues including driver behavior, night vision, perception, reaction time, control layout, and safety practices.

Causes of Vehicle Accidents

Transport injuries; such as can occur when using cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, buses and trains; may occur because of one or more of the following factors

Environmental factors may include:

• Road conditions such as potholes or obstacles in roadway
• Obstructed vision of obstacles, pedestrians, bicyclists
• Weather conditions, including fog and rain
• Lighting conditions, including illumination, visibility, contrast, and glare
• Inadequate warnings of road conditions, such as construction or ice

Behavioral factors may include:

Failure to wear lenses to correct vision
• Ingestion of medication, alcohol or drugs that affect perception and action
• Driving experience and familiarity with roadway
• Distractions such as passengers, cell phone and navigation system
• Inattention to environmental conditions such as construction zones or rain

Example cases:

Cases have included automobile, bicycle, construction, and theme park incidents involving issues such as operator behavior, visual perception, visual illusions, reaction time, and control and display layout.

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.

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.