Automotive crashes could involve multiple vehicles, a single vehicle, a motorcycle or recreational vehicle, a large transit vehicle or a large truck and be caused by a product defect or driver negligence. These crashes can result in life altering injuries and even death.
The most common types of automobile accidents involve:
- Frontal impacts (most common)
- Side impacts
- Rear impacts
- Rollovers (most rare)
In investigating automobile accidents and product liability cases over the past 30 years, we have seen many single vehicle accidents that were caused by a design defect or mechanical problem. Single vehicle accidents where the occupant received injuries disproportionate to the severity of the accident can often be traced back to a defect.
Other cases may involve drowsy driving, distracted driving, dram shops and other forms of driver negligence.
When investigating serious injuries or death related to automotive accidents, one of the critical issues we examine involves vehicle crashworthiness. Crashworthiness refers to the ability of a structure to protect occupants in the event of a crash. Investigation of crashworthiness may include the vehicle structure itself, as well as various safety systems in place that are designed to keep occupants safe, such as seatbelts and airbags.
Crashworthiness affects many different types of vehicles and vehicle components, including:
- passenger vehicles
- heavy trucks
- airplanes and helicopters
- occupant safety restraints
- child safety seats
- cab guards