Impact Biomechanics

Impact Biomechanics

In a motor vehicle crash, there are usually three separate types of crashes:

  • the vehicle colliding with the struck object
  • the occupant colliding with the interior of the vehicle
  • the occupant’s internal structures being loaded by crash forces

What are Impact Biomechanics?

Impact Biomechanics analyzes the results of crash forces and the stresses placed on the body structures of vehicle occupants and pedestrians. Impact Biomechanics focuses on what happens to vehicles and occupants during a crash and how various safety features can determine how and why various injuries did or did not occur.

Impact Biomechanics Investigation

Ideally a full biomechanical analysis of a crash would involve a multi-disciplinary team of investigators including:

  • Accident investigator
  • Crash reconstructionist
  • Medical personnel
  • Emergency medical teams
  • Coroners
  • Legal personnel

Many real world crashes, however, do not lend themselves to the full availability of a multi-disciplinary approach and in such cases reconstructionists must arrive at opinions on their own regarding specific issues, most notably determining potential mechanisms for injury.  Either way, it is vital that the accident reconstructionist have a good general understanding of important biomechanical principles to understand what happens inside the vehicle and what happens to the occupants and pedestrians during a crash.

A reconstructionist performing an analysis of what happens to the occupants and pedestrians during a crash must have a good working knowledge of physics and mathematics to perform impact biomechanics calculations including g-loads, delta velocity, energy, force and momentum.  Some of the areas in which our reconstructionists are familiar with include:

  • Basic human anthropometry
  • Basic anatomy
  • Injury and injury patterns
  • Mechanism of injury
  • Risk factors for injury
  • Medico-legal terminology
  • Occupant kinematics
  • Seats and their effect on rear crash safety
  • Occupant restraint systems
  • Event Data Recorders