Forensic engineers are hired by the loss-handling professionals to assist them in finding answers to the technical questions. This is quite tedious and it involves several works. Forensic engineers conduct laboratory examinations, on-site examinations, material testing, and several other investigating options. Once the engineer concludes a particular case, the information is communicated to the client no matter whether the claim is litigated or not.
When the information proceeds to be litigated, the report prepared by the engineering expertise will be a crucial component. It will help in explaining the expert’s opinions and conclusions. Therefore, a well-written report is very much essential for every case. Origin and cause are one of the top forensic engineering investigators in Canada.
They deal with the cases with attention and arrive at an opinion after a detailed work. Here, in this article, we would let you know about the things that you should consider while evaluating a forensic engineering expert report.
Things to look out for while judging a forensic engineering expert report
Answers to the appropriate questions
A forensic engineer needs to understand what questions the client needs an answer. Various options can vary from one client to the other. The clients might want to know the circumstances resulting in a loss, the scope of the damage related to the loss, the cause of the loss, replacement versus repair costs, or the estimated repair costs. The report aims to find answers to all the required questions.
The answers should be such that the client can understand easily. If a report leaves the client pondering for answers to the original questions, then it fails to meet the expectation of the client. It is unable to complete the task of aiding the client is seeking solutions and making decisions.
The work of the engineer should be documented
The report of the engineering expert should contain the work of the engineer that he has performed to find the opinions mentioned in the report. His work should be described in detail to lay the foundation. It should include all the information regarding the engineer’s activities performed during the time of the investigation.
If there was a joint lab examination or an on-site investigation done, it should be mentioned broadly. It should also be revealed if any third party services were required during the engineer’s investigation. For every activity, the report should be able to present every relevant information the investigation yielded.
Some of the things that may be included in the report are the images taken during the examination, fire investigation reports, recall information, a metallurgical analysis report, and many more. All of these would provide firm support for the conclusions.
There should be transparency of information
The role of an engineering expert is much more than just determining what has happened and why it happened. The expert needs to convey the findings and opinions in such a way that it is understandable for even a non-engineering expert.
If the engineering expert uses too many acronyms and technical jargon without mentioning a clear explanation, then, the client may get confused. This will adversely affect their ability to acknowledge; understand and be convinced about the opinions placed by the engineer.
It is important to note that a report should discuss the reliable scientific methods and other principles used by the engineer to reach their conclusion. It indeed requires effort for an engineer to speak in a non-technical tone. However, a report should be able to convey scientific principles and methods concisely and clearly for non-professional people.
A strong foundation is mandatory
While answering all the requested questions, the engineer’s report should well-founded with solid principles and practices that are accepted by the relevant organizations and industries. For example, if the engineer is conducting a fire investigation; then the expert would utilize NFPA 921 – Guide to Fire and Explosive Investigation because this is an admissible guide.
This guide would make sure that the investigator performs is investigation effectively. NFPA 921 focuses on fire investigations; however, it also helps the investigator with good behaviors and practices recommendations while the engineer is conducting an investigation.
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 26(2)(B)(i) stated that when the matter advances towards litigation, the expert witness report must have a complete set of statements of all the opinions that the witness has expressed.
The report should be impartial
It is important to understand the fact that Origin and Cause engineers are the advocates of truth. Hence, the engineer’s report must be objective. The engineer should conduct an ethical and impartial investigation. Furthermore, their report should be objective and be able to depict the realistic facts of the case.
The engineer need not be bothered about the client’s sought final outcome. The report must be based upon the factual information based on the engineer’s objective. The aim of the report is not to produce answers to the questions that the client wish; instead, it should have the engineer’s opinion about the case. Which is based on the facts. Engineering expert’s reports are issued to dispense a rebuttal to another expert’s report if there are any disagreements of opinions.
This article does not contain an exhaustive list of what to expect from a Origin and Cause forensic engineering expert report. However, the items mentioned above are critical to a perfectly well-written report that would help the client to make the best decisions.