OUTLINE FOR DIRECT EXAMINATION OF PLAINTIFF HUMAN FACTORS EXPERT

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

 IDENTIFICATION

  1. IDENTIFICATION
  2. [You are an expert in human behavior A human Factors]

QUALIFICATIONS 

  1. See CV
  2. EXPLANATION OF PROFESSION: (Application in industry etc.)
  3. 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

  1. ASSUME JURY MUST COMPARE PERCENTAGE OF FAULT OF THREE PARTIES INCLUDING PLAINTIFF. PREPARED  TO EXPLAIN CONCLUSIONS RE  SAME?
  2. AGREES IN MAKING A COMPARISON NOT HINDSIGHT, MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK, CRYSTAL BALL

OPINIONS

 OPINIONS REGARDING PERCENTAGE OF FAULT OF PARTIES

(1) OPINION AS TO EACH

(2) EXPLANATION 

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?

WHY?

WHO DID IN YOUR OPINION?

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS 

    •       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
(c)        FIREFIGHTERS
(d)       POLICE

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?

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