Category: Mechanical Engineer Expert Witness


Problems at the Pump

Case Synopsis: A customer at a large, self-service gas station stopped to fuel her vehicle. Upon arrival at the station, she pulled up to a pump and parked so that the gas tank filler was on the side of her vehicle opposite the fuel pump. She was able to extend the hose across her vehicle to fuel it. After removing the fuel nozzle from the vehicle, the customer claimed the hose suddenly retracted with great force, pulling her over and causing her to fall on the concrete resulting in injuries to her head, right shoulder and right hip. Following the incident, the customer was able to drive herself to an urgent care center.

Expert Analysis: The entire event, from the moment the plaintiff arrived at the gas station until after she departed, was captured on surveillance video. The video clearly showed the woman extend the hose to the far side of her vehicle to fuel it. It then showed her start to return the hose to the pump. As she began to walk behind the vehicle, facing the pump, she stumbled and fell to her right, away from the pump. There was no indication on the video of the hose pulling her toward the pump, as her arms remained down, holding the nozzle when she fell to the side. Continue reading “Problems at the Pump”

School Bus Expert Witness

Improvements to School Bus Transportation Recommended

While school bus transportation is statistically one of the safest means of travel, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recently released several recommendations to increase the safety of school bus transportation. These recommendations came following the NTSB’s investigations of two, 2016 school bus crashes that involved multiple fatalities. These crashes occurred in Baltimore, Maryland and Chattanooga, Tennessee. The NTSB determined the probable causes of both crashes were driver-related issues and made several recommendations related to driver oversight by medical providers, licensing bodies and employers. In addition, the NTSB also made numerous recommendations for changes to the vehicles.

The NTSB recommended National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) require new buses be equipped with collision avoidance, as well as automatic emergency braking systems. In their analysis of the two, 2016 crashes, the NTSB concluded these systems could have prevented the Baltimore crash and reduced the severity of the Chattanooga crash. They also called on states to require lap-shoulder seatbelts for all passenger seating positions on large school buses. In the Chattanooga crash, their investigation determined the pre-crash motion of the bus threw the children from their seats making the compartmentalization method of protecting bus passengers in a crash ineffective. The NTSB report indicates, “Properly worn lap/shoulder belts provide the highest level of protection for school bus passengers in all crash scenarios, including frontal, side, and rear impacts – and rollovers.”
Continue reading “Improvements to School Bus Transportation Recommended”