Crashworthiness is defined as the degree to which a vehicle will protect its occupants from the effects of an accident. In other words, it means how safe a vehicle is. Although it might seem as though a car’s safety features focus on protecting the passengers from the initial collision on the exterior of the vehicle, they actually protect passengers from the second collisions between them and anything inside the vehicle, like the steering wheel or the dashboard.
Those impacts can be the most dangerous of any accident. So when a vehicle is not as safe as it is supposed to be and causes more injuries for the passengers after an accident, the case falls under product liability.
Aspects of Crashworthiness in Vehicles
Manufacturers constantly research how they can improve design and safety of vehicles to reduce injury and death from car accidents. Here are some of the features that they focus on to provide the most safety possible:
- Seat belts
- Distribute energy to dissipate force
- Minimize crushing
- Prevent ejection
- Prevent fires
Researchers are responsible to test for maximum safety for any foreseeable use. Even though nobody intends to get into a car accident with their vehicle, a collision falls under the category of foreseeable use. If there is any oversight for the smallest feature, the manufacturer could be liable because of negligence.
For example, when car windows had a handle to crank to put them up or down, they were more dangerous. Manufacturers switched to power windows for ease, but also because the handle could easily impale a passenger in the event of a crash. A person who is injured by a window crank could sue the manufacturer for negligence because they didn’t take into consideration how that handle would behave in an accident.
Crashworthiness and Your Case
What makes your case viable is how an injury was created or worsened by a particular design feature or a safety feature malfunction. On top of that, the crash itself is not important in your case. In fact, a crashworthiness case doesn’t even rely on another driver causing the accident. Even if you are at fault for the crash, you could still have a case if your vehicle did not perform properly to protect you during the accident.
If a safety feature malfunctioned or there was a design flaw in your vehicle, you can make a claim to receive punitive damages based on the manufacturer’s negligence. The injury becomes the fault of the manufacturer even if they followed government safety standards because they are expected to make a car that is as safe as reasonably possible. An oversight, like handles for manual windows, can keep the vehicle from reaching its full potential when it comes to safety.
Going up against a large company like a car manufacturer could make it difficult to win your case, but it’s not impossible. You deserve compensation for your injury caused by their negligence, and that’s where we come in. Contact us and we will work tirelessly to help you with your product liability case.