Auto Crashworthiness: Did your vehicle protect you?
When investigating serious injuries or death related to automotive accidents, vehicle crashworthiness is one of the critical issues we look at. Crashworthiness refers to the ability of a structure to protect occupants in the event of a crash. In a legal sense, crashworthiness falls under auto product liability.
Crashworthiness affects many different types of vehicles. In addition to cars, SUVs, pickup trucks and other passenger vehicles, crashworthiness is also an essential factor in the design of heavy trucks, buses, airplanes and helicopters.
Automobile accident lawsuits often target third-party defendants when an auto defect or other issue affects the vehicle’s crashworthiness. For instance:
- roof strength
- child safety seats
- cab guards
Single Vehicle Car Crashes
Several issues can make a driver lose control of a vehicle and crash. Driver distraction, intoxication, fatigue, recklessness, and road obstacles are all major causes of single vehicle crashes. But another surprisingly common cause of single-vehicle auto accidents is product defect – one not caused by driver error.
Single vehicle crashes may occur when your vehicle or a component of it malfunctions and causes you to crash, such as a tire blowout or faulty brakes. Other times a critical safety device such as an airbag or seatbelt fails, leaving you unprotected and diminishing the survivability of a serious crash. Sadly, we see all too often how an otherwise survivable crash became deadly because of an automotive defect.
When an auto defect is to blame for a crash or if a defect worsened the severity of a crash, an automobile accident lawsuit will become one of product liability. You may recall litigation surrounding the Ford-Firestone defective tire dispute; sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles; defective ignition switches in General Motors vehicles; the enormous and ongoing Takata airbag debacle, and countless seatbelt recalls. All of these auto product defect cases resulted in countless deaths and injuries and major, multibillion-dollar settlements and verdicts to compensate victims and their families.
In 2019, 2.54 million people were killed or injured in U.S. automobile accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Of these people, 23,744 were killed and 2,516,000 were injured, including 156,000 people who suffered incapacitating injuries. Another 148,000 non-vehicle occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists) were injured or killed and 48,000 motorcyclists were injured or killed in 2019.
When more than a quarter-million people are injured and killed on U.S. highways and roads every year, it is clear we have an enormous problem, leaving no room for careless or reckless drivers and no space for dangerously defective automobiles.
Some of the injuries Beasley Allen’s car crash lawyers most often see when handling automobile accident lawsuits are:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and head injuries
- Facial injuries and disfigurement
- Broken bones and bone fractures
- Lacerations and other soft tissue injuries
- Back, Spine and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Organ damage and loss and other serious internal injuries
- Loss of limbs and other amputations
- Burn injuries and disfigurement
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
We live by our creed of “helping those who need it most” and have helped thousands of clients get the justice they desperately needed and deserved. If you feel you have a case or just have questions please contact us for a free consultation. There is no risk and no fees unless we win for you.