The patterns of blunt force lower extremity injury depend on the mode of impact. Motor vehicles account for the majority of blunt force injuries, although victims of homicidal assault and falls are represented in the forensic samples. The anthropologist is frequently faced with bone where the context is under question. Did the individual die in an MVA, or was this a homicidal assault masquerading as an MVA? If it was an MVA, was the victim driving or was he or she a passenger? Where was the victim sitting at the time of the accident? Did a car hit the person or did that person fall off the cliff? How would the injuries differ if the person suffered these blows after he or she were already dead from some other cause? The following discussion is broken down into several modes under which injuries are encountered, including homicidal assault, MVAs, and falls. The goal in each case is to determine whether the injury patterns are so distinctive that other causes can be excluded.
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