Structural Design & the Safety of Your Vehicle
Auto Defect Attorneys Serving Florida Since 1985
Vehicle safety is a significant consideration in terms of liability for injuries resulting from automobile accidents and when the average consumer is looking for a new car. Every new passenger vehicle must meet federal safety standards, but not all cars are equally safe. Crucial differences still exist. It is possible to find a safer car because some vehicle characteristics are inherently safer than others, and many automakers offer safety features beyond the required minimums.
Vehicle Structural Design
The first thing to investigate when identifying a safe vehicle is the structural design. This means finding out about the strength of the car's safety cage, which protects the occupants. These cars should also include front and rear sections designed to crumple in serious crashes, allowing it to absorb collision forces rather than transfer them to the passengers.
The crumple zones minimize damage to the safety cage-as soon as the safety cage is compromised, the likelihood of a car accident injury increases. When designed carefully, crush zones can lengthen the distance and distribution of force through your vehicle, protecting you and your passengers.
Not all vehicles are equally well designed. Some have crush zones that are too stiff and / or too short and safety cages that aren't strong enough. These can contribute to the collapse of the occupant compartment in serious crashes.
Vehicle Size & Weight
The vehicle's size and weight affects its safety in severe collisions. In general, larger vehicles are safer than smaller, lighter ones in crash performance. Relative to their population on the road, small cars have an occupant fatality rate that is twice as high as larger vehicles.
Size and weight are closely related. Large vehicles are typically heavy, and small ones are light. But these two characteristics don't influence "crashworthiness" the same way. Vehicle size (specifically length) can protect you in both single and two-vehicle collisions because larger vehicles usually have longer crush zones, which help prevent damage to the safety cage and lower the crash forces inside it.
Vehicle weight protects you principally in two-vehicle crashes. In a head-on crash, for example, the heavier vehicle drives the lighter one backwards, which decreases forces inside the heavy vehicle and increases forces in the lighter one. All heavy vehicles, even poorly designed ones, offer this advantage in two-vehicle collisions, but may not offer good protection in single-vehicle crashes.
Seat belts, airbags, and head restraints are all designed to make deceleration as safe as possible for passengers in a collision. Otherwise, occupants will suffer a "secondary collision," or impact the inside of the vehicle. Secondary collisions are the primary cause of injury in car crashes. Seat belts or lap/shoulder belts allow occupants to decelerate with the safety cage while crumple zones absorb most of the crash forces, minimizing secondary collisions.
Airbags and lap/shoulder belts together are very effective, but there are circumstances when inflating airbags have caused serious injuries-even deaths. The risk occurs if you're on top of, or very close to, an airbag when it first begins to inflate. Using belts correctly and choosing a proper seating position can eliminate serious airbag injury risk without sacrificing the benefits.
Drivers should always use belts and sit with the center of the chest at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel. Belted drivers potentially at risk of serious airbag injury are the few sitting very close to the wheel. Airbag injury risk is lower in vehicles made in 1998 and later models because automakers have redesigned most of their airbags using less powerful inflators. Some automakers also have reduced inflation injury risk with dual deployment thresholds.
Find Out If Your Vehicle Manufacturer Is Liable
If you were seriously injured in a car collision, your vehicle's structural design may be at fault. Rather than adhering to federal safety standards, many courts hold manufacturers responsible for using every available technology to make vehicles safer for consumers. To find out if your vehicle manufacturer or deal can be held liable for your injuries, contact The Ferraro Law Firm, P.A.
Our Florida auto defect attorneys have handled tens of thousands of cases, earning honors like:
- Elite Trial Lawyer inclusion
- Selection to Super Lawyers®
- Membership in Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®
- Reputation as the law firm other lawyers turn to
Since 1985, our firm has relentlessly fought for the injured against some of the largest and oldest manufacturers in the nation. We prepare cases thoroughly, gathering evidence and crafting compelling arguments that get results. That's why our firm has secured billions for our clients in the last 30 years.
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