The Role of the Injury Biomechanist in Personal Injury and Accident Reconstruction

Rob Parkinson and Michael Sinnott explore the important role a biomechanist has in personal injury and accident reconstruction claims. The article begins by explaining what an injury biomechanist is – they are scientists or engineers who have a unique background in aspects of both mechanical engineering and human biology, which includes training in: physics and mathematics; human anatomy and physiology; failure testing of biological tissue; and injury mechanisms. The ability to interrelate engineering and biological concepts uniquely positions an injury biomechanist to study, understand and effectively communicate the mechanisms of injury and their likelihood.

Biomechanists investigate many types of injuries including: sports/recreational injuries; motor vehicle collisions; slips, trips and falls; product failure; and occupational injury. Their experience in engineering and the understanding of injury allows them to be qualified to discuss the force-injury relationship and can therefore provide the necessary expertise in determining causation.

Injury biomechanists do many things: they assess the location and severity of the injury, relate the injury to likely forces and motions involved, determine adequate thresholds, and assess safety margin and injury risk.

Finally, the article discusses when a biomechanist may be needed, and the importance of clear, concise and unbiased communication.

Rob Parkinson, Michael Sinnott