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Combustion Vehicle Investigation

A fire destroys many traces. So do the measures taken to extinguish the fire or for rescuing. That is why our forensic view is required. Our expert opinion has to be legally effective in any court proceeding. This is achieved by combining experience, proficiency and technical understanding with a profound knowledge of chemical and physical reactions. We have an eye for detail, but also the ability to see the bigger picture. For us, it is nothing unusual to travel halfway around the world to the location of the vehicle in order to provide detailed investigations into all parts that might have caused a fire. Sometimes we have to disassemble the vehicle, or what remains, into its components so that nothing can escape the eyes of our well-trained specialists. Each assignment includes the inspection of the fire scene in order to retrieve additional information and to verify the results of the vehicle investigation.

Where further inspections of components, materials or liquids become necessary, we store these materials as evidence. These components will be revised in collaboration with laboratories and university professors, who have the required equipment and know-how. The results we provide clarify all issues relevant for insurances, car producers, public prosecution authorities and the police. These investigations are crucial for any claims settlement and to avoid additional damages by taking preventive measures.

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Electric Vehicle Investigation

Partly or fully electric cars have been booming for quite some time. An exciting new world of cars has evolved. We have taken this development into account and have been dealing with the motive and battery power technology of e-cars for many years. Also in this field, the CEO of Gottwald, Dipl.-Ing. Joachim Gottwald, paves the way as a certified high-voltage expert in post-fire investigations.

Although technical reasons such as fuel or oil leaks, damages of the turbocharger or overheated exhaust systems are not among the fire reasons for vehicles that are driven electrically, there are other components such as the high voltage battery or the power electronics that often cause problems. Apart from that, we also keep track of the “normal” 12- or 24-volt technology and its control units.

So, what is so special about a fire in an e-car compared to a combustion car? It is the difficulty of extinguishing the fire and the possible contamination of the surrounding parts. The exposure to high voltages and chemical hazards during these investigations makes it imperative to wear personal protective equipment and to have the specific know-how of a high-voltage expert when dealing with these extremely dangerous electric currents. For further interesting information, please see our video clip on high voltage protection.

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Fire prevention

Each investigated fire is the starting point of prevention.

– Why did this happen?
– What went wrong in the material or in the operation?
– What can we do to prevent this from happening again?

With almost 30 years of practical experience, our experts have gained an in-depth knowledge of nearly all ignition sources. This experience is used to improve products. We analyse prototypes or the current production for weak points.

Our services consistently help our clients to strengthen their image. A good product, a great brand is characterised by its secure and reliable handling. Costs and customer complaints are reduced minimising compensation payments of manufacturers and insurances.

We are proud to say that the claims volume of our clients is constantly decreasing.

Services

Seminars

As we said before: Dipl.-Ing. Jochen Gottwald is a coveted expert speaker at conventions and seminars. In addition, he provides trainings and further education – for insurers, criminal investigation departments or gives lectures at the university of applied sciences.

These trainings aim at raising fire awareness among experts and case managers in order to enable these persons to make an initial assessment of an incident. The following question will be asked: Could it be a known issue, arson or an operational failure? These seminars are tailored to insurance companies and criminal investigation departments. The university lectures focus on the post-fire investigation approaches and the legal background.

In 2020, new seminars on electromobility were added, during which Dipl.-Ing. Jochen Gottwald informs the audience about the new automotive technology, the various components, the dangers of electric currents and the protective measures to be taken. These seminars help assessors and adjusters of insurances and rescuers such as fire fighters, paramedics and vehicle recovery companies by providing further education and in particular by informing about effective means of self-protection against the dangers of electric currents.

In addition, we can offer online or offline seminars that are customised to your needs. Benefit from the many years of experience one of the best and most renowned experts in this area is happy to share with you. Have we aroused your interest? Then please contact Ingenieurbüro Gottwald where your request will be treated with utmost confidentiality.