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Every car accident actually involves two collisions: the primary collision (the vehicle colliding with another vehicle or obstacle) and the secondary collision (the occupants colliding with the inside of their car). Crashworthiness is your car’s ability to minimize the damage of the secondary collision, which is the most common cause of injury in accidents. Sudden deceleration or acceleration, rollovers, and other car accident types cause severe secondary collisions that can lead to permanent and life-altering harm.
When a car is crashworthy, it distributes the force of the secondary collision over a greater distance, diffusing them over a longer period of time, or redistributes force to stronger parts of the body. Crashworthy vehicles also prevent fires and keep occupants from being ejected from the vehicle—another major factor in severe car accident injuries.
Crashworthiness factors include:
- Seat belts
- Crumple zones
- Front and side airbags
Crashworthiness & Liability
The cause of your accident often doesn’t matter when it comes to auto defect cases and your car’s crashworthiness. Crashworthiness is a way of proving that your accident injuries were caused or made worse by your vehicle’s inability to protect you or your loved one in a car crash. This concept concerns whether your car’s manufacturer designed it to withstand the rigors of “foreseeable use.”
Because collisions are reasonably foreseeable in the life of a vehicle, vehicle makers are obligated to make sure their vehicles can safely withstand a crash. In fact, injuries suffered as a result of crashworthiness can be compensated independently of injuries suffered from the car crash.
For example, let’s say a person suffers a traumatic brain injury in a head-on collision. The brain injury is the primary injury, but if the car’s airbag did not deploy, then it could be argued that the car’s crashworthiness led to a far worse head injury than the victim would have gotten otherwise. While these cases are complex to prove medically, an experienced attorney and investigative team would be able to gather the necessary evidence to prove liability and secure a rightful verdict or settlement.
Many unsafe vehicles meet the minimum federal safety standards, so state and federal legislators are fighting for safety standards to be a valid defense in crashworthiness cases. However, courts often apply the standard of presently available technology and safety measures to crashworthiness cases. Federal safety standards, while important, do not advance at the same rate as vehicle technology.
The Proof Needed for a Crashworthiness Claim
Crashworthiness claims fall under the doctrine of strict liability. In contrast to personal injury cases, plaintiffs do not need to prove negligence from the manufacturer. All they need to prove is that they are injured and this injury was caused by a dangerous or defective product.
The primary proof needed for a crashworthiness strict liability claim has four parts:
- An “unreasonably dangerous” defect
- The injury caused by the missing feature or defect
- Proof that the missing feature or defect led to the injury
- Proof that the missing feature was available to manufacturers
Get Answers from The Ferraro Law Firm, P.A.
Strict liability claims vary from state to state. If you’re unsure about your state’s laws regarding your case, call us for a free case consultation. We can provide you with the legal insight you need, as well as counsel about whether you should pursue your case. Our firm prides itself on being honest when we speak to prospective clients—advising a client to pursue an invalid claim is unethical, so you’ll always receive straight answers from our attorneys.
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- Billions in verdicts and settlements for clients since 1985
Call (888) 554-2030 today to speak with our team in a free case consultation. We can help you make an informed decision founded on the facts, decades of experience, and thousands of successful cases.