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FORENSIC ENGINEERING

https://www.theengineersresource.com/forensic-engineering-online-course/

WHAT IS FORENSIC ENGINEERING?

Forensic engineering is defined by the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE) as “the application of the art and science of engineering in matters which are in, or may possibly relate to, the jurisprudence system, inclusive of alternative dispute resolution.” These engineers serve as consultants to the legal profession and as expert witnesses in courts of law.

SHOULD YOU CONSIDER THIS FIELD?

Benefits

  • Interesting work
  • Low liability
  • High hourly rates
  • Advanced payment via retainer
  • Little competition

Drawbacks

  • Can be stressful
  • Sometimes requires travel

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?

To be an “expert witness,” you don’t need to be an engineer, but you do need experience and credentials in your field. To be a “forensic engineering expert”, you will usually need an engineering degree and a license as a Professional Engineer. In addition, being a member of NAFE is a big help in being selected and in assuring acceptance as an expert in court.

It is also important to have knowledge and qualifications in the engineering specialty involved in the particular case at hand. For example, if the issue is lighting or illumination, experience in lighting design and membership in the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) would be helpful. It’s best to stick to your general area of expertise. If you are an electrical engineer, for instance, don’t take on a civil engineering case.

In addition, you should possess the following general traits:

Speaking/teaching ability. In court you need to speak clearly, using proper English and making your statements and replies concise and easy to understand. You will be teaching the judge and jury your opinion of the case and it is your job to convince them that you are correct.

Writing skills. Written reports need to be clear and professional. Don’t put anything in writing until your attorney-client requests. Be sure you can defend every word under cross-examination.

Willingness to prepare. You are being paid to study the case and the technical issues involved. This can often be tedious, but it is the key to success. When preparing for court or deposition, it is crucial that you prepare for all possible questions and memorize much of the information.

Reading skills. In most cases you will receive a box full of documents to review. These may include: (1) affidavits (written declaration of facts sworn to);  (2) complaint (plaintiff’s initial pleadings); (3) depositions (oral testimony taken by the opposing attorney in advance of trial); (4) indictments (written accusations presented by a grand jury); (5) interrogatories (written questions sent to the opposing side and written answers submitted under oath); (6) petitions (written applications to the court requesting judicial action); (7) pleadings (written statements of contentions of the parties in the suit); (8) subpoenas (written orders for witnesses to appear); (8) summons (writ directing an officer to notify a defendant to appear in court); and (9) transcripts (official record of proceedings in a trial, deposition, or hearing).

It is part of your job to read all of these documents and to cull the information pertinent to your involvement in the case. This can mean many hours of reading even though many of these documents have no bearing on your portion of the case.

CONCLUSION

Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If you have what it takes, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your consulting engineering practice. The largest chapter in Jack’s new book The Complete Guide to CONSULTING ENGINEERING covers this topic in detail.

“Excerpted from The Complete Guide to FORENSIC ENGINEERING © 2017 John D. Gaskell. Used with permission of Professional Value Books, Inc. All rights reserved. See DISCLAIMER and order at http://www.TheEngineersResource.com.” Use discount code “paperback” and save.

 

Learn how to be a forensic engineer. Learn how to be a forensic expert witness. How to be an engineering expert witness. How to obtain training as a forensic engineer. How to obtain training as an engineering expert witness.

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DISCOVER GREAT BUSINESS PLAN TIPS

https://www.theengineersresource.com/forensic-engineering-online-course/

BUSINESS PLAN TIPS

“Learn the business plan tips that will make your forensic engineering practice outstanding.”

By John D. Gaskell, Retired Consulting Engineer

Author of “The Complete Guide to FORENSIC ENGINEERING

Forensic engineering is defined by the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE) as “the application of the art and science of engineering in matters which are in, or may possibly relate to, the jurisprudence system, inclusive of alternative dispute resolution.” These engineers serve as consultants to the legal profession and as expert witnesses in courts of law.

INTRODUCTION

Understand what a Business Plan includes, how you can build one, and how important it will be to the success of your engineering practice. Discover how your business plan defines your company and its goals, gives you a game plan, and helps you make a go/no go/or wait decision. Find out why updating your business plan both monthly and annually allows you to adjust expectations and/or modify actions to compensate. Ascertain how the selection of your company name affects both how it identifies you and the future salability of your practice. Observe that your business plan will be the “key tool” in seeking financing and a line of credit, both for start-up and for cash flow needs. Get Jack’s new book: The “Complete Guide” to FORENSIC ENGINEERING to learn the details of preparing a business plan.

TIPS

  • Be careful and realistic. A “Business Plan” is one of the most important and frequently overlooked steps in the process of starting a forensic engineering practice.
  • Make it your “game plan.” Your Business Plan defines your company and its goals, helps you (and your spouse/partners) make a “go/no go/or wait” decision, and aids in forecasting financial needs and securing financing.
  • Look at your Business Plan both monthly and annually. Compare projections to actual and adjust expectations accordingly or modify actions to compensate.
  • Company Name. Carefully choose your company name considering both how it identifies you and the future salability of your practice.
  • “Key Tool.” Your Business Plan will be critically important in seeking financial support, financing, and a line of credit for start-up and cash flow needs.

Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If what is involved interests you, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer. Learn the business plan tips that will make your forensic engineering practice outstanding.

Get Jack’s new book: The “Complete Guide” to FORENSIC ENGINEERING to learn the details. Also, the largest chapter in his book: The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING covers the “highlights” of Forensic Engineering. Visit TheEngineersResource.com to find out more.

Learn how to be a forensic engineer. Learn how to be a forensic expert witness. How to be an engineering expert witness. How to obtain training as a forensic engineer. How to obtain training as an engineering expert witness. Learn the business plan tips that will make your forensic engineering practice outstanding.

 

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FORENSIC ENGINEERS NEED TO BE PEs

https://www.theengineersresource.com/forensic-engineering-online-course/

FORENSIC ENGINEERS NEED TO BE PEs

By John D. Gaskell, Retired Consulting Engineer

Author of “The Complete Guide to FORENSIC ENGINEERING

To be credible as an expert witness, Forensic Engineers need to be PEs (registered professional engineers) in the states in which they practice.

All states require licensure to practice engineering. For example, Rhode Island’s law states the following:

  • 5-8-1 Registration required for practice of engineering. – In order to safeguard life, health, and property, and to promote the public welfare, the practice of engineering in this state is declared to be subject to regulation in the public interest. It is unlawful for any person to practice, or to offer to practice, engineering in this state, as defined in the provisions of this chapter, or to use in connection with his or her name or otherwise assume, or advertise any title or description tending to convey the impression that he or she is an engineer unless that person has been registered or exempted under the provisions of this chapter. The right to engage in the practice of engineering is deemed a personal right, based on the qualifications of the individual as evidenced by his or her certificate of registration, which is not transferable.

Since Forensic Engineers need to be Pes, you need to investigate the requirements of each state in which you plan to do business. Just because you are registered in one state, don’t assume that you will be able to get registered in all states.

Most states offer “reciprocity,” acceptance of another state’s PEs, without requiring an additional examination. As an example, Rhode Island’s law states the following:

  • 5-8-11 General requirements for registration or certification.

(1) As a professional engineer:

(i) Registration by endorsement. (A) A person holding a current certificate of registration to engage in the practice of engineering, on the basis of comparable written examinations, issued to him or her by either a proper authority of a state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or of any foreign country, and whose qualifications meets the requirements of this chapter, based on verified evidence may, upon application, be registered without further examination.

Be sure that you research the most current version of the laws, usually available on-line and verify that your state require that Forensic Engineers need to be PEs

Most states require that each entity that practices or offers to practice engineering must hold a current Certificate of Authorization (COA). Make sure that your firm (whether sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or LLC) has a current COA. For instance, Rhode Island’s law states the following:

  • 5-8-24 Sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, corporate and limited liability company. – (a) The practice or offer to practice engineering as defined by this chapter by a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, corporation or a limited liability company subsequently referred to as the “firm,” through individuals is permitted; provided, that the individuals: (1) are in direct control of the practice; (2) exercise personal supervision of all personnel who act in behalf of the firm in professional and technical matters; and (3) are registered under the provisions of this chapter; and provided, that the firm has been issued a certificate of authorization by the board of engineers.

(b)(1) Within one year after enactment of this chapter, every firm must obtain a certificate of authorization from the board and those individuals in direct control of the practice and who exercise direct supervision of all personnel who act in behalf of the firm in professional and technical matters must be registered with the board. The certificate of authorization shall be issued by the board upon satisfaction of the provisions of this chapter and the payment of a fee not to exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150). This fee is waived if the firm consists of only one person who is the person in responsible charge.

(2) Every firm desiring a certificate of authorization must file with the board an application for a certificate of authorization on a form to be provided by the board. A separate form provided by the board shall be filed with each renewal of the certificate of authorization and within thirty (30) days of the time any information previously filed with the board has changed, is no longer true or valid, or has been revised for any reason. If, in its judgment, the information contained on the application and renewal form is satisfactory and complete, the board will issue a certificate of authorization for the firm to practice engineering in this state.

(3) No firm that has been granted a certificate of authorization by the board shall be relieved of responsibility for modification or derivation of the certificate, unless the board has issued for the applicant a certificate of authorization or a letter indicating the eligibility of the applicant to receive the certificate. The firm applying shall supply the certificate or letter from the board with its application for incorporation, organization or registration as a foreign corporation.

Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If what is involved interests you, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer. And remember, to be credible as an expert witness, Forensic Engineers need to be PEs (registered professional engineers) in the states in which they practice.

Get Jack’s new book: The “Complete Guide” to FORENSIC ENGINEERING to learn the details. Also, the largest chapter in his book: The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING covers the “highlights” of Forensic Engineering. Visit TheEngineersResource.com to find out more.

Learn how to be a forensic engineer. Learn how to be a forensic expert witness. How to be an engineering expert witness. How to obtain training as a forensic engineer. How to obtain training as an engineering expert witness.

 

 

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ELECTROCUTION CASE STUDY

https://www.theengineersresource.com/forensic-engineering-online-course/

ELECTROCUTION CASE STUDY

“Learn the process of investigation of an electrocution as an engineering expert”

By John D. Gaskell, Retired Consulting Engineer

Author of “The Complete Guide to FORENSIC ENGINEERING

Forensic engineering is defined by the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE) as “the application of the art and science of engineering in matters which are in, or may possibly relate to, the jurisprudence system, inclusive of alternative dispute resolution.” These engineers serve as consultants to the legal profession and as expert witnesses in courts of law.

Acceptance of Cases

Accept only cases in your field of expertise, but don’t necessarily limit them to your area of specialty. My cases as an electrical engineer included electrocutions, fires of suspected electrical origin, standard of care determinations, equipment failures, arc fault accidents, conveyor accidents, lightning strikes, and others. Yours will be different but also interesting and challenging.

General

The following is a narrative synopses of one of my cases. This is not intended to be a formal presentation of legal actions. No confidential or privileged information is revealed. This is simply my recollection, intended only to illustrate an expert’s typical involvement in judicial matters.

I was the chief investigator and expert witness on all of the forensic cases of Gaskell Associates, Ltd., and later those of the Gaskell Associates division of Thielsch Engineering, until my retirement. However, it was my practice to meet on each case with my senior staff to “brainstorm” the case. This often opened up avenues of investigation that had not previously occurred to me. I attribute much of my success to hiring others who are smarter than I am.

Electrocution Case Study

An interesting electrocution case involved “Ozzie” the roofer. Part of my job was to read his “deposition,” his fact witness statement of what he observed. Ozzie was hired to put a new rubber roof on a tenement. Near the completion of the project, he was attaching the 10-foot metal edge strips. As he was nailing a strip to the edge, he saw another strip start to blow off the roof and reached out to grab it. In doing so, he extended it out into contact with a 25,000 volt distribution line. Current flowed through the metal edge strip, through Ozzie’s right hand, through his left hand that was still holding the other edge strip, down the aluminum siding on the building façade, and then damaged all the appliances in the first-floor pizza restaurant.

The attorney asked him how he felt. “I was a little tired, so I took the rest of the day off,” Ozzie told him. This electrocution cannot be explained; perhaps Ozzie has a guardian angel. Incidentally, Ozzie was not even a party to the lawsuit; the pizza guy was trying to collect for his appliances.

Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If what is involved interests you, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer.

Get Jack’s new book: The “Complete Guide” to FORENSIC ENGINEERING to learn the details. Also, the largest chapter in his book: The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING covers the “highlights” of Forensic Engineering. Visit TheEngineersResource.com to find out more.

Learn how to be a forensic engineer. Learn how to be a forensic expert witness. How to be an engineering expert witness. How to obtain training as a forensic engineer. How to obtain training as an engineering expert witness.