Computer Fire Modeling and the Law: Application to Forensic Fire Engineering Investigations
Keywords:Fire modeling, forensic fire engineering investigation, animations, simulations, verification and validation, admissibility of evidence, expert reports, expert testimony, Frye challenges, Daubert challenges
Computer fire modeling can be a two-edged tool in forensic fire engineering investigations. Professional standards of care recommend that fire modeling’s primary use is in examining multiple hypotheses for a fire as opposed to determining its origin. This paper covers the current acceptable benefits of computer fire models, historical and pending legal case law, and methods to use modeling results within expert reports and testimony. Particular issues reviewed are the use of animations versus simulations, evidentiary guidelines, and authentication using verification and validation studies.
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