During a party at a fourth floor walkup near Chicago, a man falls to the ground and becomes a paraplegic. He sues the apartment house owner, saying he would not have fallen if the stair railing had been taller, according to code. We build a 3D computer model of the back of the building to help with investigation and analysis.

The accident occurred where the stairs made a turn. The plaintiff claimed he fell from the topmost landing, as his foot slipped off the first step.

But his description did not allow him to go over the railing. If he slipped as he said he did, his center of gravity (cog) would have been well within the railing, and he would have had abrasions to his abdomen. He did not.

Our computer model came in handy when we were trying to determine where the plaintiff landed. One key witness positioned the body next to a clothes pole that had been removed. But we could restore the clothes pole position using a photograph and the 3D computer model.

Once we had the body positioned, we knew that the plaintiff had cleared the railing at a significant speed. Given that speed, we could prove that railing height was irrelevant. The plaintiff would have gone over the railing anyway, even if it had been a few inches taller in order to meet code.