Human factors experts are professionally trained in psychology and engineering. In general their role is to evaluate how normal human behavior interact with the environment people deal with. Commonly used in industry hey study how activity areas can be made more efficient or safe for people. Their training allows them to evaluate how apparent a danger might be to a worker of a hazard; how normal human behavior relates to the operation of equipment or the efficiency of the arrangement of the environment involved. They are also often very important in personal injury damage claims. Northwest lawyers began hiring human factors experts how had or were working with Boeing. They were hired to evaluate issues of claims of safety negligence in injury cases and issues of negligence of parties, including contributory negligence claims. They are a professional field we plaintiff lawyers should be fully aware about.
Here is a simple outline of a direct examination of a plaintiff human factors expert in a case where a worker installing a poster on a high billboard hit a power line near the billboard with the metal rod he was using to install the sign. The electrical force knocked him off the platform and resulted in the partial loss of three limbs. There were claims by plaintiff of negligence against defendants and cross claims as well as a claim of contributory negligence. The jury was charged with determining the percentage of negligence, if any, of plaintiff and two defendants. This brief outline covers basic testimony of a plaintiff human factors expert in that case which resulted in a record plaintiff’s verdict.
DIRECT EXAM PLAINTIFF HUMAN FACTOR EXPERT
- [You are an expert in human behavior A human Factors]
- See CV
- EXPLANATION OF PROFESSION: (Application in industry etc.)
- WHAT WAS DONE IN PREPARATION
(1) VISITED SCENE p 39
(2) REVIEWED PHOTOS
(3) READ DEPOSITIONS
(4) TALKED WITH PLAINTIFF
UNDERSTANDS HIS OPINIONS MUST RELY ON REA SCIENTIFIC PROBABILITY
ROLE: EVALUATION OF CONDUCT
- ASSUME JURY MUST COMPARE PERCENTAGE OF FAULT OF THREE PARTIES INCLUDING PLAINTIFF. PREPARED TO EXPLAIN CONCLUSIONS RE SAME?
- AGREES IN MAKING A COMPARISON NOT HINDSIGHT, MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK, CRYSTAL BALL
OPINIONS REGARDING PERCENTAGE OF FAULT OF PARTIES
(1) OPINION AS TO EACH
OPINION RE DEFENSE CLAIMS ABOUT PLAINTIFF FAULT:
- SHOULD HAVE REFUSED TO DO WORK 147
- SHOULD HAVE USED DIFFERENT WAY OF DOING JOB 117-121
- SHOULD HAVE SEEN ELECTRICAL WIRE
- SHOULD HAVE SEEN WARNING SIGNSHOW IMPORTANT IS IT IN REACHING YOUR OPINION TO CONSIDER:
- OTHER LINE CREW DID NOT REPORT HAZARD
- SYSTEMS ENGINEER WAS AVERY CONCERNED@ BUT NEVER MEASURED & TOOK NO ACTION
- ENGINEER WHO WALKED THE LINE INSPECTED EACH POLE AND WIRES SAW NOTHING OBVIOUS OR RAISED A RED FLAG TO HIM
- OTHER TWO WORKERS, BEN KAPELKE & PAT KUNTZ DID NOT SEE A HAZARD EVEN WHEN ON SECOND LEVEL CATWALK
IS IT IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER WHO HAD THE MOST KNOWLEDGE & CONTROL?
WHO DID IN YOUR OPINION?
- DEFENSE SUGGESTION HE WAS TRYING TO COMMIT SUICIDE?
- DO YOU THINK HE WOULD KNOWINGLY RISK DEATH IF REALIZED THERE WAS A DANGER? WHY?TRUE THAT LOTS OF JOBS HAVE RISK OF INJURY?
(a) WINDOW WASHERS FOR OFFICE BUILDINGS
(b) HIGH STEEL CONSTRUCTION WORKERS
DOES THE FACT A JOB HAS RISK MEAN IF WORKER HURT IT IS THEIR FAULT FOR TAKING A JOB LIKE THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE? WHY?
- (OTHER DEFENSE OPINIONS)
- HAVE YOU READ DEPOSITION TESTIMONYSEEN EXHIBITS?
- ASSUME DEFENSE EXPERT CLAIM ___________OPINION RE REASONABLENESS OF OPINIONS – WHY?
HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU ABOUT YOUR ANALYSIS? WHY?