Expert Witness

Expert Witness & Litigation Services - DEKRA Process Safety

We provide independent and unbiased assistance in litigation for a wide variety of process-related incidents. This includes fires, explosions, releases or generation of toxic materials, and other types of incidents that have caused injuries, property losses, or environment impacts. Our highly skilled and professionally recognized staff of scientists and engineers can draw on their experience, scientific knowledge, and research capabilities to identify and prioritize the likely causes of incidents. Also, our investigations of incidents are supported by our laboratories and the ability to perform tests that are pertinent to the case of interest. We are prepared to respond promptly to an incident scene and to work with other investigators and authorities to examine evidence, review and comment on statements of witnesses, and study and comment on the reports of other investigators. Thus, we can provide legal teams with scientific inputs to assist in the resolution of litigation cases.

Our experts can provide independent professional litigation assistance on a wide range of process hazards including:

  • Fires involving gases, vapors, aerosols or mists, dusts, powders, and solid materials
  • Explosions involving gases, vapors, aerosols or mists, dusts, and powders
  • Spontaneous and pyrophoric combustion
  • Overpressures and hazardous material releases caused by thermally-unstable materials
  • Overpressures and hazardous material releases caused by runaway reactions
  • Electrostatic discharges, and the consequences of such discharges
  • Flammability, combustibility, and explosibility of materials
  • Hazards involved in the transport and storage of dangerous goods
  • Incident investigation and root cause analysis
  • Electrical area classification, and ignition source identification
  • Unusual or unanticipated hazardous properties of materials

Our litigation support experience includes incidents in a wide variety of chemical, pharmaceutical, oil/petrochemical refining and distribution, food, metallurgical, powder processing, paint, and agricultural industries.

Our focus in litigation support is not only on what caused an incident but also on proving what did not cause the incident of interest. Thus, our support in incident investigation follows the guidance in the publication of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) “Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations”.

Successful litigation-support investigations utilize science and technology to validate information and evidence collected from an incident scene. Another step in the process is the formation of opinions. Any hypothesis or opinion must be based on sound scientific data and then be evaluated for validity. Our seasoned members of staff are prepared to assist you in extracting valuable information from an incident scene and other pertinent data, at any point in the investigative process. Our conclusions and opinions are based on our knowledge of chemistry; physics; chemical, mechanical, and electrical engineering; and our experience in industrial processes and incident investigations.

Also, our laboratory facilities are equipped to conduct thermodynamic tests on chemical reactions, tests to determine flammability and combustibility properties of chemicals and other materials, tests to evaluate electrostatic hazards, and non-routine or special-purpose tests in blast-resistant test cells. For a complete list of test details and methods, please refer to our Laboratory Testing section.

In addition, our consultants and laboratory staff are experienced in providing testimony in depositions and in court settings, to aid the progress of litigation and in settling claims.