Forensic investigation of cranial injuries due to blunt force trauma: Current best practice

Elena Kranioti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Blunt force trauma is one of the most common injuries encountered by the forensic pathologist in a variety of scenarios such as transportation fatalities, jumping or falling from heights, blast injuries, and being struck by firm objects. Blunt force injuries located in the cranium are often associated with the cause of death which makes their examination of vital importance in the medicolegal investigation of death. This article aims to review the existing knowledge on the mechanism of cranial blunt force injuries and the associated fracture patterns in order to facilitate the interpretation of such injuries in skeletonized or heavily decomposed bodies where soft tissue is no longer available. Current developments on theory and practice are also discussed. Despite the evidenced progress made in the past decades, trauma analysis in medicolegal settings remains a very challenging task, especially in the absence of soft tissue. It is thus imperative to work toward developing repeatable and scientifically acceptable methods with known error rates, in order to meet the increasing demands of the judicial system on the admissibility of evidence and expert witness testimony.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-37
JournalResearch and Reports in Forensic Medical Science
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2015


  • cranial trauma
  • blunt force trauma
  • forensic anthropology
  • fracture
  • cranial injuries


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