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I’ve Fallen and I… Hurt Everywhere!?


A biomechanical engineering assessment can be useful in other accident scenarios, such as evaluation of the circumstances surrounding a person who has slipped, tripped or fallen. The circumstances of the incident and the claim determine the issues we are asked to address. The following are some examples of questions that we can provide insight into in a slip, trip or fall incident:

Are the injuries consistent with the incident description?
An example scenario could be an individual who is in an automobile collision and then, at a later date, experiences a trip and fall incident. With sufficient information, the two events can be evaluated to determine if the reported injuries associated with the trip and fall were exacerbated by the automobile collision or, on the other hand, if the injuries claimed to be sustained in the trip and fall were solely a result of the automobile collision.

What caused the injury and can it be contributed to the person or the environment?
The surface properties and contour of the surface can be assessed to evaluate if the surface contributed to the slip, trip and fall. Sintra Engineering’s property loss engineers can provide information to the biomechanical engineer regarding applicable codes or standards for the surface or structure in question. This information can be used to compare likely injury outcomes for a surface or structure that was not up to code versus one that did comply.  The person’s footwear or what items and how they were carrying them while walking may also have contributed to the slip or trip.

Did the person have a pre-existing condition that contributed to their instability?
A person may have a medical condition (e.g. muscular degenerative diseases, drop-foot due to stroke, knee instability due to previous ligamentous injury) which may affect their ability to walk thus increasing the likelihood of slip or trip and/or may affect their ability to react to a slip or trip and prevent a fall.  Older individuals can also have slower response times and have less success at recovering from a slip or trip and preventing a fall.

In order to perform a biomechanical analysis of a slip/trip and fall, several pieces of information are required. Examination of the site allows for assessment and/or measurement of the property’s surfaces and the surrounding environment. Witness statements and detailed information on the individual’s actions leading up to and following the incident can shed light on the conditions at the time of the incident and may bring to light details about the environment that would not have been present when the site was examined (ie. ice, rain, or loose objects on the ground). Medical documentation pre- and post-incident is used for assessing the contribution of pre-existing medical conditions and the correlation and severity of injuries reportedly sustained.


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