Original Article

International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 120, Issue 4, pp 212-218

First online:

Finite element modelling of human head injuries caused by a fall

  • Jean-Sébastien RaulAffiliated withInstitut de Médecine LégaleInstitut de Médecine Légale Email author 
  • , Daniel BaumgartnerAffiliated withInstitut de Mécanique des Fluides et des Solides, UMR 7507 ULP CNRS
  • , Rémy WillingerAffiliated withInstitut de Mécanique des Fluides et des Solides, UMR 7507 ULP CNRS
  • , Bertrand LudesAffiliated withInstitut de Médecine Légale

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Finite element models (FEMs) can be used as prediction tools for human head injuries caused by falls. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the relevance of using human head FEM to assess the possible mechanism for the origin of head injuries. The FEM of the human head used in this study was developed in the late 1990s at the University Louis Pasteur of Strasbourg (ULP) and has been validated for human head impacts for simulating human head injuries caused by car accidents. Its use in legal medicine appears to be very useful for comparing different injury mechanisms. We present the simulation obtained for two witnessed falls of the same individual, and compare our results to tolerance limits of the main human head injuries. We show that this tool can be used to discuss the possible mechanism of injury encountered for the observed lesions in a forensic case. It can also help to distinguish between possible and impossible human head injury mechanisms.


Finite element models Forensic science Head injury Reconstruction