Get Help After an Unsafe Vehicle Leaves You Injured
Vehicle safety is important to Americans, and for good reason. Driving a car is the most dangerous thing the average person does each day. The term “crashworthiness” refers to the degree to which a vehicle will protect its occupants in the event of an auto accident.
So what happens when a vehicle is inherently dangerous, and you suffer preventable injuries in a crash? Working with an experienced legal team is extremely important in a crashworthiness case, as it takes a significant amount of research and analysis to prove your injuries were caused or worsened by a safety defect, rather than just the crash itself.
For a free consultation with a Dallas auto product liability lawyer, call Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP at (214) 231-0555.
How Is Crashworthiness Determined?
Depending on the nature of the impact and the type of vehicle involved, different criteria are used to determine the crashworthiness of that vehicle. During a collision, the vehicle’s occupants are subject to a number of violent forces, including rapid acceleration and deceleration, depending on the direction of the impact. Researchers test vehicles’ crashworthiness by creating these types of situations through computer models or experiments.
While the features of a car can’t prevent a crash from happening, they can lessen the second part of a collision: where the driver and passengers collide with the interior of the vehicle. A crashworthy vehicle will distribute the force of a crash over a greater distance to lessen the impact to each area of the passengers’ bodies.
Crashworthy cars minimize injuries, prevent ejection from the vehicle, and reduce the risk of fire. Some safety features include seat belts, crumple zones (designed to absorb impact), and front and side airbags (NHTSA).
What If a Vehicle Isn’t Crashworthy?
Crashworthiness is related to the legal concept of product liability – the liability a manufacturer has for producing or selling a faulty product. However, determining if someone is liable for crashworthiness won’t be your typical product liability case. This is because crashworthiness deals with the secondhand impact, rather than the crash itself.
As a result, a car’s defect doesn’t need to have caused a wreck in a crashworthiness case. Rather, the defect needs to have caused or worsened the injuries suffered in the accident. For example, another driver may collide with you after running a stop sign. But a defect in your vehicle’s airbag system, or a lack of side airbags, may make your injuries worse than they would have been. In this case, the defective airbags did not cause the crash, but they did worsen the injuries you suffered.
Vehicle manufacturers have a duty to build cars that are as safe as reasonably possible within the constraints of current technology, design, and manufacturing standards. When they don’t, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them.
Contact a Skilled Attorney
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident and believe that your vehicle’s crashworthiness may have played a part in your injuries, contact a local product liability attorney as quickly as possible. Under the Texas statute of limitations, you must bring a personal injury lawsuit no later than two years after the day the incident occurred.
If you’d like to speak with Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP about your potential case, give our Dallas office a call at (214) 231-0555 for an initial consultation at no cost.