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FORENSIC ENGINEERING ONLINE COURSE

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

 

“Learn if you have what it takes to be a success as a  forensic engineering expert witness”- Take my Online Course”.                   

By John D. Gaskell P.E. , Retired Consulting and Forensic Engineer

                                        Board Certified Diplomat in Forensic Engineering

Creator of the OnLine Course: “Forensic Engineering

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

Understand what “forensic engineering” is and discover why this exciting, challenging, and profitable field should be part of your engineering practice. Find out what is involved and if you have what it takes to be a success in the litigation arena as an expert witness.

You will learn how to prepare a CV (Your expert witness resume), market your services, formulate a forensic engineering fee agreement, conduct investigations, write reports, and prepare for depositions and the trial, including cross-examination.

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
  • You will be studying incidents, accidents, failures, fires, explosions, errors, etc. – in your area of expertise.
  • You will be reading & studying the case files to cull-out information regarding your portion of the case.
  • You will be conducting investigations – including site inspections, interviewing of witnesses, and examination & testing of evidence
  • Testifying at deposition & trial – both direct & cross-examination.
  • Low liability – This is not like a design (where you might make a mistake). Your only obligation is to express your opinion.
  • High hourly rates – 1 ½ to 2 times your normal hourly rates without a not-to-exceed limit. Your attorney/client knows that the opposing attorney might ask you if your investigation was limited in any way – so there is no not to exceed limit.
  • Advanced payment via “non – refundable” retainer. Have any of your other clients paid you in advance?
  • Little competition – This is a “niche” market. When your competitors hear words like “deposition” & cross-examination, they run the other way. Knowledge overcomes fear. This course will give you the knowledge to embrace forensic engineering.

 Drawbacks

  • Can be stressful – But, you will be prepared. You will learn how to make a thorough investigation, prepare & practice your testimony and how to make a confident presentation.
  • Sometimes requires travel. – Travel can be broadening – stay a few extra days and see the sights. Most of my cases were local – Yours may also be.

Because litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable, I recommend adding “forensic engineering” to your practice. Take my OnLine Course and learn how.

Lessons Include:

INTRODUCTION to becoming a Forensic Engineering/Expert Witness.

How to conduct INVESTIGATIONS & write EXPERT REPORTS

How to prepare for DEPOSITIONS – Which are oral testimony, under oath, conducted at the opposing attorney’s office.

How to prepare for TRIAL including practice and your demeanor.

How to prepare for your CROSS-EXAMINATION including questions like:

Have you ever lied?

Have you ever been wrong?

Lesson 7 will cover the BUSINESS of Forensic Engineering and include:

Your Case File

White Papers

Marketing your Forensic Engineering Services

Your Forensic Fee Agreement

Our last lesson will be an OUTLINE SUMMARY that will reinforce what you have learned.

My name is Jack Gaskell. I operated Gaskell Associates Consulting Engineers for over 35 years and we became the largest electrical engineering firms in Rhode Island. One of my most interesting and profitable undertakings was to add “Expert Witness/Forensic Engineering” to my practice.

To share my experience, I have prepared an On-Line Course and I would like to invite you to experience a FREE SAMPLE LESSON.

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

To experience a free sample lesson, click here Forensic Engineering

Visit: https://www.TheEngineersResource.com for additional tips.

######

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ENGINEERING EXPERT WITNESS – Do you have what it takes?

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

 

“Learn if you have what it takes to be a success as an engineering expert witness”.                   

By John D. Gaskell P.E. , Retired Consulting and Forensic Engineer

                                        Board Certified Diplomat in Forensic Engineering

Creator of the OnLine Course: “Forensic Engineering

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

WHAT IS AN ENGINEERING EXPERT WITNESS?

An Engineering Expert Witnesses provides comprehensive engineering analyses in their field of expertise and serve as consultants to the legal profession and as expert witnesses in courts of law.

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?

You don’t need to be an engineer to be an expert witness, but you do need to be experienced with credentials in your field. 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 an “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 it, and 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 accusation 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.

John D. Gaskell, Retired Professional Engineer

Board Certified Diplomat in Forensic Engineering

My name is Jack Gaskell. I operated Gaskell Associates Consulting Engineers for over 35 years and we became the largest electrical engineering firms in Rhode Island. One of my most interesting and profitable undertakings was to add “Expert Witness/Forensic Engineering” to my practice.

To share my experience, I have prepared an On-Line Course and I would like to invite you to experience a FREE SAMPLE LESSON.

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

To experience a free sample lesson, click here Forensic Engineering

Visit: https://www.TheEngineersResource.com for additional tips.

######

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EXPERT WITNESS TRIAL PREPARATION

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

 

“Learn the step-by-step trial preparation that will make your testimony creditable as an engineering expert witness.”

By John D. Gaskell, Retired Consulting and Forensic Engineer

   Board Certified Diplomat in Forensic Engineering

Creator of the OnLine Course: “Forensic Engineering

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

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.

The good news is that the vast majority of cases settle; the bad news is that you need to prepare every case as if it will go to trial.

TRIAL PREPARATION

Review what to bring to court with your attorney/client. Usually, bring the following:

  • Your CV – (your expert witness resume). Be prepared to present it orally from memory. Summarize your cases by saying something like, “I have been involved with 18 cases as an expert witness. I was deposed in 10 of them, and I testified at trial 4 times.”
  • Your fee schedule, time sheets, bills, and case summary. Make sure that these records are up to date and be prepared to answer the question, “How much time did you spend on this case and what were your total charges to date?”
  • Your report. Again, be prepared to present it orally from memory.

Don’t bring your case file unless directed to do so. If you do bring it, carefully remove any irrelevant, early, or incorrect information.

Trial preparation is similar to that needed for a deposition. The important difference is how clearly and convincingly you present your opinions. Juries tend to believe expert witnesses who appear confident, knowledgeable, and likable.

Another difference is the thoroughness of your trial preparation. Write out questions and detailed answers. These should each be concise. Juries lose their train of thought with run-on questions or answers; break them up into smaller pieces. Group them by topic and in appropriate order. For example: site investigation, interviews, examinations/observations, tests, and opinions. Also, include broad inquiries: “Tell us about all of your opinions and the justification for each. When did you first form that opinion?” (Hopefully it was not before you knew the results of your investigation.) Send them to your attorney/client for review. Also, ask him or her to send you a written list of other possible questions. (But, don’t expect much of a reply).

Practice aloud in front of a mirror until you can recite the answers from memory with conviction and without “umms” and “I thinks.” This will adequately prepare you for your direct examination by your attorney/client.

Next, try to predict questions the opposing attorney might ask during his or her cross-examination. The opposing expert’s report will be an inspiration for possible questions. Try to craft an appropriate response to each, answers that don’t sound defensive. Try to find out the name of the attorney who is expected to cross-examine you so you can address him or her by last name in court. If you forget the name, address the attorney as “counselor.”

In some cases, exhibits are effective. If you think of a prop that illustrates your opinions and makes them easier to understand, review that with your attorney/client well ahead of time.

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

To share my experience as a forensic engineer – expert witness, I have created an “online course”.

To experience a free sample lesson, click here Forensic Engineering

Visit: https://www.TheEngineersResource.com for additional tips.

######

 

Posted on

FORENSIC ENGINEERING ON-LINE COURSE

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

Understand what “forensic engineering” is and discover why this exciting, challenging, and profitable field should be part of your engineering practice. Find out what is involved and if you have what it takes to be a success in the litigation arena as an expert witness.

You will learn how to prepare a CV (Your expert witness resume), market your services, formulate a forensic engineering fee agreement, conduct investigations, write reports, and prepare for depositions and the trial, including cross-examination.

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
  • You will be studying incidents, accidents, failures, fires, explosions, errors, etc. – in your area of expertise.
  • You will be reading & studying the case files to cull-out information regarding your portion of the case.
  • You will be conducting investigations – including site inspections, interviewing of witnesses, and examination & testing of evidence
  • Testifying at deposition & trial – both direct & cross-examination.
  • Low liability – This is not like a design (where you might make a mistake). Your only obligation is to express your opinion.
  • High hourly rates – 1 ½ to 2 times your normal hourly rates without a not-to-exceed limit. Your attorney/client knows that the opposing attorney might ask you if your investigation was limited in any way – so there is no not to exceed limit.
  • Advanced payment via “non – refundable” retainer. Have any of your other clients paid you in advance?
  • Little competition – This is a “niche” market. When your competitors hear words like “deposition” & cross-examination, they run the other way. Knowledge overcomes fear. This course will give you the knowledge to embrace forensic engineering.

 Drawbacks

  • Can be stressful – But, you will be prepared. You will learn how to make a thorough investigation, prepare & practice your testimony and how to make a confident presentation.
  • Sometimes requires travel. – Travel can be broadening – stay a few extra days and see the sights. Most of my cases were local – Yours may also be.

Because litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable, I recommend adding “forensic engineering” to your practice.

Lessons Include:

INTRODUCTION to becoming a Forensic Engineering/Expert Witness.

How to conduct INVESTIGATIONS & write EXPERT REPORTS

How to prepare for DEPOSITIONS – Which are oral testimony, under oath, conducted at the opposing attorney’s office.

How to prepare for TRIAL including practice and your demeanor.

How to prepare for your CROSS-EXAMINATION including questions like:

Have you ever lied?

Have you ever been wrong?

Lesson 7 will cover the BUSINESS of Forensic Engineering and include:

Your Case File

White Papers

Marketing your Forensic Engineering Services

Your Forensic Fee Agreement

Our last lesson will be an OUTLINE SUMMARY that will reinforce what you have learned.

FREE PREVIEW LESSON

This course will open the doors to a new specialty that will be exciting, interesting and profitable.

To experience a “Free Preview” lesson go to the following website:

https://professionalvaluecourses-d089.thinkific.com/courses/forensic-engineering

(I suggest that you pause this video now so that you can copy this web address.)

When you get to the website, “Click” on FREE PREVIEW.

On the next screen, enter your name, e-mail address and create a password. “Click” on SIGN UP and it will play a sample lesson.

A STEAL

The course is a bargain at the regular price of $169

and it is a STEAL at the introductory price of only $69.

What are you waiting for? – Let’s get started.

 

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FORENSIC ENGINEERING REPORTS

FORENSIC ENGINEERING REPORTS

“Learn the step-by-step process of writing expert reports that will make your testimony creditable.”

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.

REPORTS

Do not write reports until your attorney/client requests. There are three basic types of forensic engineering reports: verbal, summary, and detailed.

Verbal Reports

Preliminary reports should be oral because the investigation is ongoing and not all questions have been answered. Also, your attorney/client doesn’t want your opinion committed to writing until he or she knows what it is. Tell your attorney/client both the strengths and weaknesses and the status of your investigation.

Call your attorney/client as soon as you find serious flaws in his or her side of the case.

Before writing your report, ask your attorney/client for a written guide outlining the case strategy, desired testimony, and questions to be answered. In my experience, you will be lucky to get an off-the-top-of-the-head verbal response.

Summary Written Report

After your verbal report, your attorney/client may request a summary report. Be sure that you review exactly the depth that he or she wants before proceeding. Usually, this type of report is requested if the case is expected to go to trial and your attorney/client does not want to give away your full position.

Detailed Written Report

Instead, after your verbal report, your attorney/client may request a detailed report. Again, be sure to review exactly the depth he or she wants before proceeding. Usually, this type of report is requested if the case is expected to settle and the strategy is to reveal how strong your arguments are, thus encouraging a settlement.

Regardless of length, reports should be organized in the following manner:

Begin with a summary of the background of the case. Include the “who, what, when, and where” of the incident (accident, failure, fire, explosion, error, etc.). Include basic facts, events, injuries, sources, and weather, if pertinent. You should already have this information on your case summary sheet.

Next, describe your investigation. Include a list of documents read, interviews held, site observations, tests conducted or observed (including a summary of the results), and a laboratory test result summary.

Include an opinions section. It is best to state each opinion separately, including the justifications for each. Be sure you can substantiate each word in each opinion because you may be extensively cross-examined. Be sure this section is complete because these are the only opinions to which you will be allowed to testify, unless new information becomes available.

Attach an appendix to your report, including test reports, sketches, and photographs with a caption on each explaining what it depicts and its relevance. The appendix should include a list of reference materials (textbooks, handbooks, and published papers) supporting your findings. Be thorough and include page numbers from all sources. Make your forensic engineering reports outstanding.

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.

Posted on

FORENSIC ENGINEERING INVESTIGATIONS

FORENSIC ENGINEERING INVESTIGATIONS

“Learn about forensic engineering investigations: the step-by-step process of site investigation, and examination & testing of evidence that will make your testimony creditable.”

By John D. Gaskell, Retired Consulting Engineer

Author of “The Complete Guide to FORENSIC ENGINEERING

Learn about forensic engineering investigations.

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. Learn about forensic engineering investigations.

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

INVESTIGATIONS

The more investigation, research, analysis, and testing that you do, the more credible and convincing your testimony will be. Your investigation will, of course, depend on the details of the issues in your field of involvement. Your attorney/client can arrange access to evidence or the site. Do not rely on your memory; take detailed notes.

Site Investigation

If appropriate, visit the site to see the actual circumstances of the incident. Besides a pad and pen, bring a camera and possibly binoculars. Take many pictures and make sketches, if appropriate. Try to determine if the conditions now are the same as they were immediately following the incident.

One of my first investigations was of a fire of suspected electrical origin. The fire damage was extensive, with insulation melted off of much of the exposed wiring in the basement. Many of the covers were missing from junction boxes, and some had wiring hanging out with connections exposed without wire nuts. I documented all of these violations and thought, “No wonder the place burned down.” It wasn’t until I was driving home that it dawned on me that there were probably a half-dozen investigators there before me who created most of the violations. Don’t assume that things were always as you find them.

Be prepared to interview persons who may be able to offer useful information. It would be helpful to bring a tape recorder for interviews or to simplify note-taking.

Examination

If applicable, relevant items may be sent to you or you may have to go somewhere else to view, examine, and possibly test them. Besides a pad and pen, bring a camera and surgical gloves. Before touching these items, explain to representatives of both parties what you plan to do, how you plan to do it, and receive permission before proceeding. Take many pictures and make sketches, if appropriate. Depending upon the magnitude of the case, there may be a dozen or more people present, and you may have to wait your turn.

If you suspect that evidence has been tampered with or spoiled, immediately inform your attorney/client.

Testing

Consider pertinent testing, if needed. In some cases, this is your responsibility; in others, testing should be done by an independent laboratory. One argument for independent testing may be that you don’t have the required measuring devices; another is that independent tests appear more objective. Have your attorney/client contract directly with the laboratory so the lab results will be his work product. If you do the testing, it is usually best to rent the test equipment and have the supplier provide a report of recent calibration and accuracy of the instrument. You don’t want to be questioned about these issues regarding your meters while on the witness stand. Review, advise your attorney/client, and obtain written permission before proceeding. I wouldn’t hesitate to proceed, however, if your attorney/client is present, informs you that the other side has approved, and is aware of what you will do.

There are two types of testing: nondestructive and destructive. Do only nondestructive testing on the actual item that is the issue of the action. If the testing needs to be destructive, obtain an “exemplar,” an identical item. There may be others at the site or an exact copy may be available from the manufacturer. In any case, get permission before testing of any kind.

Sometimes, it is appropriate for you to observe testing by others. Also, you or someone else may be asked to write a “protocol” (procedure) for testing for approval by all parties prior to testing.

CONCLUSION

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. Find out how to be a forensic expert witness. Discover how to be an engineering expert witness. Find out how to obtain training as a forensic engineer. Learn how to obtain training as an engineering expert witness.

 

 

 

 

Posted on

FORENSIC ENGINEERS CASE FILE

FORENSIC ENGINEERS CASE FILE

“Learn how to organizing your forensic engineers case file so that they will all be consistent.”

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.

YOUR CASE FILE

Your forensic engineers case file is discoverable by the opposition. Be very careful what it includes. Keep written correspondence to a minimum. Your theory of the case may evolve and change over time as you uncover more information. The first two pages should be your Case Summary and Case Time and Charges.

On the Case Summary Sheet, add a narrative of the case: who, what, when, and where the incident (accident, failure, fire, explosion, error, etc.) occurred, including basic facts, events, injuries, sources, and weather, if pertinent. Update your ongoing summary of your investigation and possibly include proposed future actions and questions. Avoid unfounded accusations. As your forensic engineering practice grows, it may become harder to remember the status of each case. Also, priorities change and some cases go on hold for extended periods. If an attorney/client calls about his or her case and you don’t remember the details, say you are in conference and will return the call later. Find the case file, read the summary, and return his call. Prepare this record on your computer so that, as it is updated, there is no record of changes.

Each time that you work on a case, indicate the date and the start and stop times on the case Time and Charges Sheet. When you are interrupted by an unrelated activity, be sure to subtract that time from your sheet. At the end of each month, send a bill for your time. Include a summary of activity for the month, listing the day and the total time for the day rounded up to quarter- or half-hours. Do not break down the time for each task in your forensic engineering case file.

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. Discover how important your forensic engineers case file is to your expert witness practice.

 

 

 

 

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WHITE PAPERS by FORENSIC ENGINEERS

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

FORENSIC ENGINEERING WHITE PAPERS

“Learn how engineering experts benefit from preparing and studying white papers”.

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.

WHITE PAPERS

To properly prepare your case, it is often necessary to research specialized areas of your field, such as those that may be new to you or you haven’t needed since college. While doing this studying, make notes in a narrative form to make it easier for you to write your expert report. In addition, these notes will help you prepare for your deposition and for trial as an expert. These papers prepare you for cross-examination questions on the specialized technical area at issue. They have the added advantage of preparing you for questions in the general technical area but not specific to this case. When your work involves a new technical issue, read about it and take detailed notes in narrative form, including definitions of the various new terms.

These are often called “white papers,” a compilation of your knowledge on a specific topic. It organizes your research for use not only on this case, but on future cases. If the source information is paraphrased, it could also be the basis for a magazine article authored by you. Reprints will help you earn a reputation as an expert in your field.

I didn’t learn about white papers until I was in practice for over 20 years. Start as soon as you have a job. After you have prepared a “white paper,” reread it several times, and commit much of the information to memory. When the subject comes up, you will be able to discuss it like an expert. Gain a reputation as the “smartest guy in the room.”

After I established my own engineering practice and began hiring employees, I wanted to standardize procedures for two reasons. Most importantly, this was so that my staff would provide the same standard of service that my clients had come to expect from me. Also, I realized that by sharing information we would become more efficient and, thus, more profitable. I organized this information, including white papers, and put it in a 3-ring binder that I called my Operations Manual. This information can now be more easily organized and updated with computers.

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.

 

 

 

 

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FORENSIC ENGINEERS – WHAT DO THEY DO?

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

FORENSIC ENGINEERS – WHAT DO THEY DO?

INTRODUCTION

Understand what forensic engineers do and discover why this exciting, challenging, and profitable field should be part of your consulting engineering practice. Find out what is involved and if you have what it takes to be a success in the litigation arena.

WHAT IS INVOLVED FOR FORENSIC ENGINEERS?

Cases of forensic engineers include some or all of the following: site investigation; examination and testing of evidence; reports (verbal, summary, and detailed); testimony at deposition; testimony at trial (direct and cross-examination).

There are two sides to every case. The person who brings the action is the “plaintiff.” If you work for his or her attorney, you are a plaintiff’s witness. The other party in the suit is the “defendant.” If you work for his or her attorney, you are a defendant’s witness. In your forensic practice, you will almost exclusively be involved with civil cases (noncriminal matters).

There are two types of witnesses: a “fact witness” and an “expert witness.” A fact witness can only tell what he or she observed, not what others have said (hearsay) and not his or her opinion concerning the case. You, as a forensic engineer, will be an expert witness (a technical witness) and as such, you are allowed to express your opinions on matters within your expertise.

The attorney who hires you may represent either the plaintiff or the defendant, or their insurance companies. When you work directly for an attorney, your work is protected from discovery (detection), by the opposition because it is “attorney work product.” Avoid working directly for the parties of the suit because your work is not similarly protected.

Your “scope of services” in your forensic fee agreement is important for similar reasons. “Consultant and (if designated) as expert” allows your attorney-client to deny that you were dismissed as an expert witness, if he or she doesn’t like your opinion as a consultant.

Above all, you must be truthful at all times. Forensic engineers must be supportive of there opinion without arguing for your attorney-client. Your opinion will not always coincide with that of your attorney-client. His or her job is to advocate for the client. Your job is to form an accurate and scientifically consistent opinion and to convey that to your attorney-client. If your attorney-client doesn’t agree with your theory of the case, he or she can get another expert. In addition he or she benefit from your contrary opinion because your findings will point out the weaknesses in their case and may prompt a settlement.

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. Find out how to be a forensic expert witness. Discover how to be an engineering expert witness. Find out how forensic engineers obtain training. Learn how to obtain training as an engineering expert witness.

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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.