Premise Liability

Vollmer-Gray Engineering Laboratories provides services to evaluate technical issues involving premises liability. Typically, investigations involve slips, trips, falls, and other accident modalities that occur in the work place, hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, and other public places, as well as in residential situations. Issues most commonly involve injuries suffered by persons who are present on the premises.

Our premises liability investigations often involve several areas of specialization, including biomechanical engineering, mechanical engineering, and tribometry. All of our premises liability engineers are trained and certified tribometrists. Investigations usually require evaluation of the accident site and the injuries to determine the individual’s position at the time of the event.

We have the capability to create three-dimensional computer models of an incident scene using 3D laser scanning, photographs, site measurements, and/or building plans (blueprints). A model can be a valuable tool in analyzing an individual’s location and orientation at the time of an incident, to see whether critical aspects of the scenario are consistent with the geometric constraints. Additionally, this technology can be used to more fully explore an event that might have been captured on surveillance cameras by allowing our engineers to view the scene and involved individuals from any angle. The computer models can also be used to illustrate the scene as perceived by the involved individual.

Injury mechanisms are evaluated by applying engineering principles to the human body. Our biomechanical evaluation of a premises liability incident typically includes a review of medical records. Our engineers use component load limits and injury tolerance values to perform the biomechanical assessment. With these methods, we can often ascertain whether the injury mechanisms for the pathologies listed within the medical records are consistent with an accident scenario, as described in police or incident reports and witness statements or testimony.

Critical to a complete analysis of a premises liability case is an understanding of the mechanical interaction between a subject and his environment. This can include anything from the friction of a walking surface to the structural integrity of a railing or support. The performance of these components depends on material, design, and construction and each factor can play a crucial role in the cause and effect of an accident. At Vollmer-Gray, our in-depth knowledge of materials, combined with our collective breadth of expertise in virtually all areas of engineering and science, is used to understand how these materials perform and why they fail.