Motor Vehicle Injury Biomechanics

Our team of biomechanists can examine the accident dynamics, occupant kinematics, and the effects of forces upon the body within the accident sequence. We evaluate the diagnosed injuries and determine if the injuries claimed are consistent with the mechanics of the accident.  We can also evaluate passive or active restraint systems and determine if these occupant protection systems could have mitigated or contributed to the severity of the injuries claimed or fatal event.

In order to determine what happened in a vehicle rollover accident, Rimkus experts can determine the occupant movement within the vehicle during the rollover, use of a seatbelt, and the point of ejection.  We can determine if the occupant injuries would have been be as severe if the occupant had been wearing a seatbelt or had the not been ejected. Our team can also determine if a failure within the vehicle prompted the occupant to be ejected, as well as other factors that could have mitigated or contributed to the occupant injuries.

In cases involving vehicle occupant ejections, Rimkus consultants can evaluate the motions of occupants before and after the ejection, as well as the resulting injuries. In addition to the injury analysis, Rimkus can address key questions regarding the restraint systems of the vehicle and determine if the system was operating or being used appropriately.  

When multiple occupants are involved in a vehicle injury accident, Rimkus is often retained to determine which occupant was driving the vehicle. Rimkus experts use accident reconstruction tools and biomechanics to determine the injuries that would have been sustained by the driver and passenger in a particular accident and to match up those injuries with the injuries that reportedly occurred as a result of the accident in order to determine which occupant was more likely the driver and which was the passenger

Motorcycle accidents present unique dynamics and unique injuries.  Rimkus engineers can evaluate the dynamics of a motorcycle accident and determine the injuries that a rider would sustain.  Our biomechanics can determine if the reported injuries are consistent with the mechanics of the accident, as well as if protective equipment such as helmets could have mitigated or prevented the injuries. 

When pedestrians are struck by vehicles, questions related to the pedestrian injuries, as well as questions about the motions of the pedestrian and vehicle require the expertise in injury biomechanics. Our biomechanists specialize in the evaluating injury causation.  Our team can determine if diagnosed injuries are consistent with the mechanics of the accident and how fast was the vehicle traveling when it struck the pedestrian.

More than 50% of drivers and passengers who died in vehicle crashes were reported to be unrestrained at the time of the crash. Our experts are frequently called upon to evaluate the role of the seatbelt and its use.  Our biomechanists can determine if a seatbelt was in use at the time of the accident, if the use or lack of use of a seatbelt contributed the injuries claimed, and if proper seatbelt use could have mitigated or prevented injuries sustained during an accident. 

Airbags are protective devices, but vehicles equipped with driver and front seat passenger seat airbags have been known to deploy prematurely or failed to deploy during an accident. Airbag components have also been known to rupture in the event of a crash, causing metal fragments to strike drivers or other occupants resulting in serious injuries or death. Rimkus experts can determine if an airbag deployment was properly deployed and warranted in the specific accident.  We can also determine if the airbag deployment contributed to injuries or would have mitigated or prevented the injuries if properly deployed.

When a child occupant is involved in a vehicle accident, the potential for injury and level of injury severity can be directly related to a properly fitted and secured child seat. Our biomechanists can determine if a child seat was used properly, appropriate for the child’s weight and age, secured appropriately to the child and the vehicle restraints.  In addition, our team can determine if the seat contributed to the injuries or if proper use of the car seat could have mitigated or prevented injuries.

Regional Practice Leaders

Ming Xiao

Ph.D., P.E., ACTAR

Principal Consultant