Crashworthiness is one aspect of vehicle safety, the other being accident avoidance equipment. It deals with auto design and manufacturing features that protect drivers and passengers in the event of a collision (see auto defects). In crashworthiness cases, the cause of the accident is not considered as important as the ‘second collision’ – the one in which the passengers collide with the interior of the vehicle.
For example, vehicles may not be crashworthy due to manufacturing defects such as a defective air bag that does not fully inflate in the event of a crash or design defects like roll bars that are not placed in an appropriate location.
To avoid second collisions, car manufacturers have designed a number of safety features. Crashworthiness features such as airbags, seatbelts, rollbars, and headrests are designed to minimize injury and the risk of fire, as well as prevent ejection from the vehicle. However, when these features fail, serious personal injury can occur, leading to questions of crashworthiness.
There are two types of defects that typically lead to serious injury:
- Manufacturing defects
- Design defects
In addition, failure on the part of the manufacturer or retailer to warn about a dangerous aspect of a vehicle can also lead to injury.
It is also important to note that crashworthiness is different than vehicle safety. Crashworthiness is the ability of the vehicle to protect its occupants, while the term vehicle safety encompasses both crashworthiness and accident-avoidance features such as wider tires and anti-lock brakes.
Filing a Lawsuit
Vehicle manufacturers are responsible for the crashworthiness of their vehicles, whether they are aware of potential safety hazards or not. When assessing the validity of a crashworthiness case, our attorneys attempt to determine if the passengers would have fared better if the vehicle had included crashworthiness features designed to reduced injuries. If its determined that the vehicle occupant was injured in an accident due to crashworthiness defects, he or she may be entitled to financial compensation from the vehicle’s manufacturer.
Contact an Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries or wrongful death due to a crashworthiness defect contact a lawyer to learn more about your legal rights.