Occupant Kinematics

Occupant Kinematics

Occupant kinematics involves the study of occupant motion inside of a vehicle during a crash.  Overall, perhaps the best description for this area of study is occupant motion.  Many issues that arise in these cases include: 

  • Who was driving?
  • The position of the occupants
  • Mechanism for injury
  • Forces applied to human body structures
  • Low speed impact severity
  • The effect of safety equipment usage or non-usage
  • Injury fraud analysis

This type of case usually necessitates a careful and thorough inspection of the vehicle interior, safety systems, injury descriptions, analysis of the change in velocity (delta v) and principal direction of force.  Additionally, a detailed inspection of the exterior of the vehicle and the crash scene itself is normally performed.  It is vital to have a comprehensive understanding of how the vehicle moved through the accident environment, including the dynamics of the crash itself to predict how occupants would have moved inside the vehicle.  An understanding of where the occupants were reportedly seated, and their posture at the time of impact should also be considered.

Occupant Ejections

Occupant ejections are among the most complex issues to resolve in kinematic cases.  In an ejection case it is vital to determine the avenue of ejection from the vehicle and where along the crash path the ejection occurred.  An occupant kinematics analysis will be extremely useful in the analysis of occupant ejections.

Low Speed Impact Analysis

Another specialized category of kinematics is that of low speed impact analysis.  Even at relatively low speeds, occupants can be injured.  The correct investigation protocol and physics calculations are necessary to determine the likelihood and mechanism of injury in a low speed impact.

Our staff has a wide variety of training and experience in the specific investigative protocol for these types of cases.  Modern air bag control sensor systems often include information regarding the delta v experienced during specific portions of the crash phase.  Our staff is extremely professionally qualified to analyze this important information and then apply it to the totality of evidence.