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The Crucial Role of Structural Engineers as Expert Witnesses in Residential Cases

Riser height measurement
Riser height measurement

Introduction (Expert witness services):

Structural engineers play a pivotal role in legal cases related to trip and fall incidents, construction damage, improperly structurally modified structures, and improperly reinforced foundations. As expert witnesses, their expertise is sought to provide a comprehensive understanding of the structural aspects involved in these situations. In this blog post, we explore the diverse responsibilities of structural engineers as they contribute their perspectives and analyses to achieve equitable and impartial resolutions in residential scenarios.

1. Trip and Fall Incidents:

In cases of trip and fall incidents, structural engineers examine the design and construction of walkways, stairs, and other structures to identify potential hazards. Their expertise allows them to assess whether the structural elements comply with safety standards and regulations. By analyzing factors like material integrity, load- bearing capacity, and adherence to building codes, structural engineers can determine if a structural flaw contributed to the accident.

2. Construction Damage:

When construction damage occurs in residential properties, structural engineers investigate the root causes. They assess the quality of materials used, construction methods employed, and adherence to approved plans. By identifying deviations from structural standards, engineers can provide crucial insights into whether the damage is a result of construction defects, poor workmanship, or other structural issues.

3. Improperly Structurally Modified Structures:

Homeowners often make modifications to their residences, such as removing walls or altering load-bearing elements, including party walls in row houses. Structural engineers can assess these modifications to determine if they adhere to engineering principles and local building codes. Unapproved changes can compromise structural integrity, leading to safety hazards. Expert witnesses assist the court in understanding the consequences of such alterations.

4. Improperly Reinforced Foundations:

Issues with foundations can jeopardize the stability of an entire structure. In cases involving improperly reinforced foundations, structural engineers examine the foundation’s design, materials used, and construction methods. They assess whether the foundation meets industry standards and if deficiencies contributed to structural problems. Expert witnesses play a crucial role in explaining technical details to legal professionals and the court.

5. Personal Injuries:

Personal injuries frequently occur as a consequence of facade or panel failures, whether attributed to shortcomings in design, installation, fabrication, or engineering. Our extensive experience spanning all aspects, from design and engineering to manufacturing and installation, equips us with a comprehensive understanding to effectively address such cases involving personal injuries.


Collaborating with Pittsburgh Design & Engineering Services emphasizes the vital role of a structural engineer as an essential expert witness in both residential and commercial cases. Leveraging their profound expertise, the structural engineer adeptly analyzes intricate structural issues and effectively communicates their findings to legal professionals and the court. Through the provision of impartial and professional insights, these experts play a crucial part in advancing justice in various cases, including those involving trip and fall incidents, construction damage, personal injuries, improperly structurally modified structures, and inadequately reinforced foundations.

Written by Firas Abdelahad, P.E.

Firas Abdelahad has been a practicing structural engineer since 2005, collaborating with a diverse range of professionals, including consultants, architects, investors, homeowners, contractors, and subcontractors. Together, they tackle the various challenges that can arise during the design and construction phases of projects.

Firas has reviewed, evaluated, and assessed thousands of properties across the state of Pennsylvania, spanning from State College to Erie and throughout Western PA.


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