Railroad

We have worked on over 150 railroad cases for both plaintiff and defense involving various accident types including vehicle and pedestrian, derailments, FELA, equipment malfunctions, and grade crossings. We provide a wide array of visual reconstruction analyses using surveys, laser scans, aerial photography, and videogrammetry to support studies in accident reconstruction, visibility, locomotive cameras, audio, train horns, and lights and gates.

Using both acoustical and visibility studies we were able to help our client learn that the driver could neither see nor hear the train approaching in time to avoid the collision. Additionally, our model of the site allowed us to determine that if specific vegetation was removed the driver could have seen the train in time to avoid the collision.

After conducting a visibility study to determine the train crew’s sight distance to the crossing, we animated the crew’s view in comparison to the low-quality locomotive video, illustrating that the video is not an accurate representation of what can be seen from the cab of a locomotive.

Using photogrammetry to align accident photos to the data collected at the site inspection, we were able to accurately place obstructive vegetation that had been removed.

Trucking

We have visually reconstructed a variety of truck collisions for equipment failures such as braking, electrical, or mechanical, and driver errors such as visibility, distraction, or negligence.

After hitting the corner of a powerless tractor trailer, this vehicle was spun across three lanes of traffic into the median. After doing an on-site nighttime visibility study to record and document the ambient lighting in the area, we were able to determine that this stopped trailer would not have been detectable to the driver in time to avoid it.

In this multi-vehicle collision there was ample evidence, but no clear picture of how the collisions occurred. By examining photos of vehicle damage, gouge marks, and debris fields, we were able to reconstruct the placement of the vehicles both in relationship to the highway and each other giving us a clear picture of the crash sequence.

After a cyclist is struck by a turning tractor trailer, we were asked to determine if the cyclist was visible to the driver of the truck prior to impact. Matching the trucks motion using surveillance video, we placed a camera in the driver’s seat and discovered the cyclist would have been visible in at least one mirror for an entire minute.

Vehicular

3D software and photogrammetry enables us to position vehicles and the collected site evidence such as tire marks, gouges, and debris in a 3D model of the accident site. We can then use the vehicle evidence such as the event data recorder and/or crush measurement data to spatially trace the movements and interactions of the collision.

A three-vehicle wreck during a snowstorm. It was necessary to visualize the sequence of events leading up to impact to understand the actions of the swerving driver. It also became clear that if the SUV had been traveling at a speed appropriate for the conditions the crash could have been avoided.

Testimony claimed that a police car approaching an intersection too fast caused a multi-car collision. We aligned two surveillance videos of the intersection and used videogrammetry to track the four vehicle’s locations through time. In addition to speeds of all four vehicles, we could determine that the arrival of the police car at the intersection coincided with the pickup truck swerving to the left.

Based on eyewitness testimony, photos of tire marks, and the vehicle rest position, we were able to visually reconstruct the movements and interaction of the vehicles in this complicated multi-vehicle collision.

Personal Injury

Personal injury cases always present new and unique challenges. Our methods provide a general approach that can make use of any kind of evidence. We’ve worked on hundreds of cases involving issues like visibility, timing studies, maintenance, safety, and recreating changed conditions such as the time of year, lighting, vegetation, signage, etc.

After two pedestrians were struck crossing a street at night, it was necessary to conduct a lighting study on the striking vehicle to determine the brightness of the headlights and whether the pedestrians were visible to the driver in time to avoid the collision.

An out of use passenger rail exposed on an urban roadway caused a cyclist’s front wheel to get caught in the channel, throwing him over the handlebars. The exposed rail was quickly covered, leaving few photographs to pinpoint its dimension and location. Using photogrammetry, we were able to accurately place and construct the rail and the surrounding road surface as it existed at the time. Applying the time, date, and historical weather to our model allowed us to demonstrate the visibility of the rail as the cyclist approached.

A zipline course was left operational while construction was being performed on-site. A zip-liner emerged from a wooded corridor and struck the side of a bulldozer that was grading the hillside. We traversed the zipline course to collect video, speeds and measurements of zipline tension, then composited a 3D bulldozer into the video, emphasizing the zip-liners inability to detect or avoid the bulldozer.

Product Liability

Products fail for a variety of reasons including faulty design, misuse, flawed methods, and manufacturing defects. We begin by investigating the failed product, modeling it, showing its correct operation or design, and then visualizing its failure.

Following an explosion at a titanium facility, there were conflicting claims as to whether the fire started in the ductwork that was being cleaned or in the vacuum that was cleaning it. In order to demonstrate our clients case, we created a three-dimensional vacuum to illustrate how the vacuum functions.

A tire failure caused a blowout that rolled an SUV. Inspection of the tire revealed that there was an issue in the manufacturing process that caused the failure. We created a simplified version of the tire assembly to point out the various components, how they are combined to form the finished tire and why quality control is key.

During the investigation of an RV fire, the refrigerator was identified as the ignition source. To explain the failure of the refrigerator, it was necessary to explain how the cooling system was designed to operate correctly and then show the malfunction and ignite.

Environmental

Environmental management involves long term planning, measurement, and monitoring. In order to effectively communicate the changes and patterns in the data we use visualization to condense time and illustrate complex events.

An expanding sinkhole needed a baseline dataset to track its progression. We measured the sinkhole using a UAV and modeled it in 3D for the local management authorities.

In response to a sub-surface landfill fire that was causing public outcry, the landfill’s operators installed a series of temperature probes to monitor the fire. To simplify the data sets and make the information easily readable, we animated the probes and their logged temperature changes over time.