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Associate Attorney at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Wins Appeal to Throw Out Junk Science in Auto Accident Case

By: Allan M. Siegel

In our auto accident cases, the insurance company sometimes hires an expert called a “biomechanical engineer.” While there is a science behind biomechanics, it is also open to abuse. Virtually every time in our cases, the defense biomechanical engineer reaches the same conclusion: Based upon the force of the auto collision, it was supposedly impossible for our client to be seriously injured. Of course, conclusions like these generally fail to take account of many factors that the “expert” either does not know or isn’t qualified to consider, such as the exact speeds of the vehicles and their angles of impact, the height and weight of our client, the position our client’s body was in during the collision, and his/her medical history.

In one of our recent cases, in the District Court for Anne Arundel County, Maryland, the defense biomechanical engineer was particularly brazen: By simply looking at photographs of the cars in the accident, he “concluded” that there was not enough damage for our client (who was the driver of one of the cars) to be injured. Even worse, the engineer was the father of the defendant, who was driving his car. At trial, the judge allowed the engineer to testify and then ruled that our client was not injured in the accident.

Matthew Tievsky Attorney

Our firm was not willing to take that lying down. The attorney representing our client, Matthew W. Tievsky, appealed to a higher court, the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The Circuit Court judge ruled that there was no way for even an expert to conclude, just by looking at photographs, that a person inside one of the vehicles has or has not been injured. Additionally, the judge also found it highly questionable that the defendant’s own father was allowed to testify in her favor. The judge ordered that our client is entitled to a new trial, and that the so-called expert may not testify this time.

This is a great victory for our client but, on top of that, hopefully it sends a signal to other courts in Maryland not to let in biomechanical engineering testimony that is only junk science. The best evidence of whether a person was injured in a car accident is medical evidence that comes from the doctors who examined the victim – not engineers who look at what happened to the cars. Even low-impact collisions that do little damage to the cars involved can seriously injure the people inside those cars.

If you have been in an auto accident – even one with little damage to the cars – and have questions about how you should proceed, contact our personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., for a free consultation.