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Analysis of a Common Cause Hypothesis in a Forensic Product Defect Analysis

[+] Author Affiliations
James V. Carnahan

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Roland L. Ruhl, Mark G. Strauss, Laura R. Genson

Ruhl Forensic, Inc.

Paper No. IMECE2004-59566, pp. 127-135; 9 pages
  • ASME 2004 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Engineering/Technology Management: Safety Engineering and Risk Analysis, Technology and Society, Engineering Business Management
  • Anaheim, California, USA, November 13 – 19, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Safety Engineering and Risk Analysis Division, Technology and Society Division, and Management Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4720-9 | eISBN: 0-7918-4178-2, 0-7918-4179-0, 0-7918-4180-4
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


Forensic analysis of an accident involving machinery or equipment requires the engineering investigator to determine what role the equipment played in the accident. That analysis involves consideration of “defect” and “proximate cause,” items that have very specific legal meaning. The authors will discuss legal requirements relating to the investigator’s role in product defect analysis and will provide examples of scientific methodology deemed admissible in Federal Court. Two case examples are given where a reliability analysis based on the Weibull failure distribution was used to support, in part, the expert’s conclusions.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME
Topics: Product quality



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