Analysis Reveals Driver Never Applied Brakes

Crash data retrieved from the van’s Powertrain Control Module, when analyzed with scene scan data and evidence, refuted Plaintiff’s sworn testimony regarding her actions leading up to the crash and led to the court granting Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgement and dismissing Plaintiff’s Complaint.

Plaintiff was driving a rental truck, built on a van chassis, when she failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway and struck a house located along the outside of the curve. Plaintiff alleged that the van’s steering and brakes failed, causing her to collide with the house and sustain various personal injuries. Plaintiff further alleged that the post-crash condition of the van had been subsequently altered such that her experts were prevented from collecting the evidence necessary to pursue her claims of steering and brake failure.

Scope of Work
ESi was retained to inspect the subject van, to review the crash data retrieved from the subject van, and to review the opinions submitted by Plaintiff’s experts.

After inspecting the subject van, reviewing the crash data stored in the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) and reviewing the opinions and qualifications of Plaintiff’s experts, ESi’s consultants submitted sworn affidavits to the court testifying:

  1. The post-crash alterations to the van by others did not materially affect the ability to assess the pre-crash condition of the van’s steering or braking systems,
  2. The PCM data, when analyzed with scene scan data and evidence, conclusively showed Plaintiff was actively controlling the van throughout the 25-second period leading to the crash,
  3. The PCM data conclusively showed Plaintiff never braked or attempted to slow the vehicle in response to the alleged steering and brake malfunctions, in direct opposition to her sworn deposition testimony,
  4. Proper procedures were used to retrieve the crash data from the PCM, and
  5. Plaintiff's experts lacked the training and experience necessary to provide valid opinions on the relevant matters, and the opinions they did provide conflicted with known characteristics of the subject van’s steering and braking systems and Powertrain Control Module.

The court granted Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissed Plaintiff’s Complaint. The court denied Plaintiff’s Motion for Sanctions that she demanded for alleged spoliation.

Related Consultants

Insight Driven Solutions

ESi's expertise spans dozens of industries and specializations organized across several practice groups, each staffed by dozens of in-house experts with the technical knowledge, hands-on expertise, and courtroom experience required to execute projects for and with our clients from start to finish.

Find an Expert Contact Us