Forensic Engineering Expert Witness Defined

The Society of Professional Engineers writes on Forensic Engineers:

How and when does a Civil Engineer become a Forensic Engineer, or require the services of a Forensic Engineer? What does a Forensic Engineer do, and, what makes the Civil Engineer different to a Forensic Engineer engaged to investigate a civil engineering matter? The term Forensic Engineer is a relatively new one and too one not frequently used by those very people who are practicing Forensic Engineers! A more familiar description is Expert Witness. How do you distinguish between a Forensic Engineer and an Expert Witness? What is a Forensic Engineer? This paper attempts to differentiate between these roles, while at the same time defining what a Forensic Engineer is, and the manner, processes and techniques that he/she has to use. The paper is not intended to describe in detail the specific processes, (typically accident reconstruction, 3D modelling etc) but it does identify the legal processes and implications that the Forensic Engineer should take on when accepting instructions on a particular matter. The paper also provides examples of these processes and the implications they hold for the engineering community as a whole in a litigious society. The paper does not attempt to discuss any differences between the numerous engineering disciplines (civil, structural, mechanical; the same principles apply to all.

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