Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness Glossary
Expert witnesses are valuable resources due to the depth of knowledge and credibility they bring to legal cases. These experts have a knack for explaining complex concepts and scenarios in a way that is easy for judges and juries to understand.
Every industry has professionals who could be qualified as expert witnesses, but the five most common expert witness fields are:
Medical and Psychological
Additionally, within each of the above fields, there are dozens of subfields in which an expert can specialize.
This glossary defines the most common mechanical engineering specialties for expert witnesses.
Mechanical Engineering Expert Witness
A mechanical engineering expert witness is someone with a high degree of knowledge and experience in testing, designing, analyzing, or manufacturing mechanical objects, and who uses that knowledge to testify in a court of law. There is a heavy emphasis on math, physics, technology, problem-solving, and spatial ability in mechanical engineering, so these engineers are equipped to consult on numerous types of legal cases.
Personal injury, breach of contract, product liability, accident investigation, patent infringement, intellectual property disputes, and numerous other legal cases could benefit from a mechanical engineering expert witness.
Defining Mechanical Engineering Expert Subfields
Accident Investigation Expert Witness
Accident investigation expert witnesses in the mechanical engineering field are able to reconstruct the accident in a court or legal proceeding and provide an analysis of how equipment, vehicles, or other mechanisms played a part in that accident.
Aerial Lift Expert Witness
An aerial lift expert witness is called upon to testify in court because of their deep knowledge of the operation, design, and maintenance of aerial lifts from a mechanical perspective. They also understand how operators interact with this equipment and can provide accurate analyses and accident reconstruction.
Airbag Expert Witness
An airbag expert witness can be used to evaluate a vehicle’s airbag system in legal proceedings & court cases. After car crashes in which the airbag deployed or failed to deploy, an expert in this subset of mechanical engineering provides insight into the airbag technology and design of the involved vehicles.
Amusement Park Ride Expert Witness
Amusement park ride expert witnesses testify in lawsuits because they are well well-versed in the complex mechanics of rollercoasters, water rides, carousels, Ferris wheels, and other types of equipment found in amusement parks. These experts assess the maintenance, design, and operation of rides to determine the cause of a malfunction or injury.
Automotive Engineering Expert Witness
Automotive engineering expert witnesses have a thorough knowledge of and extensive experience in vehicle development, design, fabrication, and testing, allowing them to act as a witness in legal cases around car crashes. These mechanical engineers understand each stage of vehicle manufacture and how different vehicle parts function.
Car Crash Expert Witness
A car crash expert witness analyzes the details of a crash, such as vehicular damage and car systems, to determine the cause or contributing factors of a collision. They are experts in the mechanics and design of vehicle safety systems, electronic systems, and other mechanical aspects of cars and trucks.
Child Seat Expert Witness
A child seat expert witness evaluates all the factors of a crash involving a child, including the design of the seat and how it was being used at the time of the accident. These experts are valuable for cases in which a determination is needed on a potentially faulty child seat or misuse of the seat.
Consumer Products Expert Witness
Consumer products expert witnesses within the mechanical engineering category provide testimony and opinions on patent and trademark issues involving mechanical systems or equipment.
Conveyor Systems Expert Witness
Conveyor systems expert witnesses will testify in legal cases due to their in-depth knowledge of conveyor systems and experience in operating, repairing, or designing these systems. These mechanical engineering specialists also know the safety regulations that dictate the safe operation of this equipment.
Crane Expert Witness
A crane expert witness can provide accident reconstruction, analyze the safety of the equipment, and investigate the design and operation of a crane in legal proceedings. These experts are ideal for construction accidents or any other incident involving a crane injury or damage.
Design Engineering Expert Witness
Design engineering expert witnesses have specific knowledge of the design phase of mechanical development, letting them act as witnesses in court trials. As one of the first steps in equipment creation, the design phase is crucial to the overall functioning of any piece of machinery or equipment.
Electromechanical Systems Expert Witness
An electromechanical systems expert witness provides testimony on equipment, systems, and devices that use mechanical and electrical engineering. These experts consult on cases involving computer design, product development, electronics design, automotive engineering, and numerous other topics involving electromechanical systems.
Equipment Patent Expert Witness
Equipment patent expert witnesses provide expertise on mechanical and engineering equipment in legal cases involving trade secrets or patent disputes. This is a somewhat broad subset of mechanical engineering, and finding an expert with specific knowledge of the equipment in question is advisable.
Exercise Equipment Expert Witness
An exercise equipment expert witness provides testimony on the functioning and design of fitness machines and other types of exercise equipment. When someone is injured by fitness equipment, there are many elements that could be to blame, including user error, negligent maintenance, or design flaws.
Forklifts Expert Witness
A forklift expert witness can consult on accidents involving forklifts, including rollovers, falling loads, mechanical failures, and collisions. Mechanical engineers with specific knowledge of forklift operation and design will inspect the mechanics of the equipment and reconstruct the accident to determine the cause.
Hydraulic Engineering Expert Witness
Hydraulic engineering expert witnesses are people who testify in court due to their background in the design, manufacture, maintenance, or operation of systems that use pressurized fluid, such as hydraulic lifts, hydraulic brakes, and certain other heavy equipment.
Intellectual Property Expert Witness
Intellectual property expert witnesses within the mechanical engineering field can analyze the design, quality, build, and other details of devices and other products to determine if intellectual property infringement exists.
Machine Guarding Expert Witness
A machine guarding expert witness is someone who testifies in court due to their experience in mechanical engineering, specifically the safety systems and functioning of machine guarding equipment. They are often certified or licensed in this field with extensive knowledge of guarding product design.
Trailers Expert Witness
A trailer expert witness understands how trailers function in tandem with the vehicle that pulls them and the equipment they haul, allowing them to testify in law suits. With so many elements and parts working together, it can be difficult to identify the cause of trailer accidents. Trailer expert witnesses use their extensive experience and knowledge to analyze accidents and determine if any equipment failure was present.
Zipline Expert Witness
Zipline expert witnesses are often used in injury cases when zipline equipment fails or malfunctions. This particular subcategory of mechanical engineering involves specialized knowledge and understanding of the safety and mechanics of ziplines, allowing these experts to accurately identify problem areas or determine that the equipment was functioning properly.