Garbage Truck Rear-End Collision Results in Spinal Injuries

This case study explores a rear-end collision involving a garbage truck and the resulting spinal injuries to the stationary individual.

ByExpert Institute


Published on February 6, 2024

Garbage truck collecting trash

Case Overview

The case study describes the injuries suffered by an individual when a garbage truck rear-ended him while he was stationary on the interstate. The plaintiff had been stationary for approximately 15 seconds before the collision occurred. There is a dispute regarding the speed of the garbage truck at the time of impact, with estimates ranging from 4 to 13 MPH.

As a result of this accident, the plaintiff required extensive medical intervention, including cervical surgery and multiple lumbar disc surgeries. Additionally, they underwent a cage fusion procedure in their lower back.

A biomechanical expert was sought to review the case details and provide force computations.

Questions to the expert and their responses


Can you briefly describe your experience as a biomechanical engineer, particularly in evaluating rear-end collisions and their potential contribution to spinal injuries?

With over three decades of research experience in biomechanics, I have focused extensively on understanding the mechanics of impacts and how these impacts can lead to injury. My expertise includes analyzing incidents similar to this one where rear-end collisions result in spinal injuries.


What additional information would you require to accurately compute the force created by this collision?

To accurately compute the force generated during this collision, I need specific data points. These include the masses of both vehicles involved in the accident. They also include the points of contact during impact, any available estimates of impact speeds, and the approximate position of the injured individual prior to impact.

Armed with this information, simulations can be performed to estimate the probability of injury due to such an impact.


Have you ever reviewed a similar case? If yes, please elaborate.

Yes, throughout my career as a biomechanical engineer, I have analyzed several cases that resemble this one. The load exerted on the skeletal structure during an impact is a function of the mass of the vehicle and the velocity at which the impact occurs.

About the expert

This expert boasts over 30 years of experience in biomechanics and kinesiology, with a PhD in Biomechanics from a renowned university. They have contributed significantly to the field through numerous publications, lectures, and consultations both nationally and internationally. Currently serving as a professor of kinesiology and biomechanics at a large university, their research focuses on the measurement and simulation modeling of the human musculoskeletal system, making them highly relevant for this case study involving spinal injuries due to a rear-end collision.

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