Crashworthiness

Crashworthiness describes an automobile’s ability to protect a driver and passengers during an accident. All vehicles should be deemed “crashworthy” before being introduced to the public. Crashwworthiness lawsuits deal with injuries not incurred from an initial auto accident but injuries caused by defects in protective equipment. This includes seat belts, airbags, roof stability, seat strength, tires, and other features.

Automobile Safety Features

A car’s safety system must work together to make a vehicle crashworthy. For example, seat belts must provide controlled resistance to extreme forces. Airbags must prevent occupants from slamming into interior parts of a vehicle. Roofs must be designed and reinforced to prevent crushes, especially during rollovers, and the seats must be durable enough to withstand an accident without collapsing backwards.

Injuries Caused by Crashworthiness

Injuries that result from a car’s crashworthiness can be compensated separately from injuries incurred from an accident itself. Crashworthiness involves manufacturer defects, design defects, and failure to warn about dangers. For instance, when a door latch fails to work, an occupant may be thrown from a vehicle during an accident. Defective airbags may cause head and brain injuries, broken bones, burns, or worse. Faulty seat belts may lead to strangulation, head trauma, broken bones, or death. These are just a few examples of the severe injuries caused by poor crashworthiness.

Who is Responsible?

Crashworthiness cases hold a car manufacturer liable for injuries incurred during an accident because of a defect or malfunction that was not the source of the crash. In other words, these cases are concerned with the design of the automobile’s safety system. Manufacturers have an obligation to create products that are reasonably safe and must warn the public when dangers are detected.

Tire Defects

After a car accident, it is easy to blame another driver for negligence. However, the reason for the accident may stem from defective tires. Defects in tires may cause blowouts, which lead to a sudden loss of control. Devastating injuries may result.

Common Tire Defects

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states tires can fail for many reasons. Chunking and cracking are common malfunctions. Belt-to-belt separation, broken cords, and separation of tread are also tire defects that lead to accidents. Recently, many major manufacturers have recalled tires due to tread separation.

Tire manufacturers know the main reasons behind tread and belt separation is poor design and incorrect placement of materials. Another fault may be poor adhesion, which results from unclean manufacturing facilities, old manufacturing materials, and the introduction of contaminants during the manufacturing process.

Injuries that Result from Defective Tires

When a defective tire blows out, a vehicle becomes impossible to control, especially at high speeds. As pressure rapidly decreases in the tire’s core, tread is lost, and the vehicle is likely to rollover. A rollover can cause broken bones, abrasions, head and neck injuries, spinal cord paralysis, amputation, or death.

Who is Legally Responsible for Tire Failure or Tread Separation?

Defective tires are subject to strict product liability laws. When they cause accidents and injuries, a victim may take action against the tire manufacturer. If the tires are considered original vehicle equipment, a claim may be filed against the car manufacturer.

Tire installers may be held accountable as well. Installing tires of improper size or rim combination may lead to accidents. When this is the case, a claim may be filed against the installer.

All product manufacturers have a responsibility to notify customers of dangerous defects. Many times, tire manufacturers do not initiate recalls until lawsuits are filed. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by defective tires, it is essential to make the negligent parties pay for your pain, suffering, and other related expenses. Victims may be able to reach satisfactory settlements or receive court awarded compensation.

Roof Crush Injury

Roof crush injuries are extremely serious and may stem from inferior or defective roofing materials. During an accident, a car’s roof may crush when it is not crashworthy. These defects may cause devastating injuries to drivers and passengers. In this country, roof crush defect injuries kill over 10,000 people each year.

How Do Roof Crush Defects Cause Injuries?

When roofs are not made to withstand impact, shattered glass and other structural components are commonly strewn throughout the scene of an accident. These sharp pieces may cause severe lacerations. Also, the crushed roofs may reveal large spaces where occupants can be ejected from the vehicles. Finally, compromised roofs may collapse on occupants. Since seat belts are made to keep people sitting upright, roof collapses may cause severe spinal cord or brain injuries. Under tragic circumstances, people die.

Low Auto Industry Standards

Although the federal government passed laws to heighten the standards on auto roof strength, not all vehicles are made to comply. Many major SUV manufacturers are exempt from this legislation. Experts estimate it is inexpensive to incorporate high auto roof strength, but manufacturers ignore the possibilities of changing designs so that profits are not compromised at all.

Who is Liable for Injuries?

Automakers have a responsibility to provide safe products for consumers. When design flaws or poor materials cause people to become harmed, manufacturers must be held accountable. Most car manufacturers have been made aware of safety issues and often choose to sacrifice the public good for a better bottom line. This negligence should not be tolerated, especially since injuries may be severe.

Car Fires and Explosions

Auto accidents account for nearly 3 million injuries a year. Depending on the circumstances, a car may catch fire or explode. After this occurs, the car suffers expensive damage, and the occupants may be severely burned or worse.

Causes of Car Fires and Explosions

There are various reasons behind car fires and explosions. Design flaws make conditions ripe for fires. For instance, electrical system failures are often associated with car fires. Faulty wiring in ignition systems may short and spark fires. A faulty battery may also be to blame. When a battery is not designed correctly, corrosion may form on terminals, which is highly flammable. During common accidents, airbags may detonate and lead to explosions as well.

Ruptured fuel lines and punctured gas tanks are the most common reasons for car fires. All fuel tanks should be placed in front of vehicles’ rear axles and include fuel cell bladders and anti-puncture shields. It is essential to avoid brackets and other sharp objects in the area of the fuel tanks. When car makers fail to follow these precautions, defective fuel systems may be to blame for car fires.

Injuries Caused by Car Fires and Explosions

Vehicle fires are very dangerous. They may result in serious burns or death. The extreme heat and toxic gases released can cause extensive scarring. Burns are painful and may require long hospital stays. Severe burns may affect breathing, digestion, and other bodily functions as well. Victims may need skin graft surgeries and pain management treatments.

Who is Responsible for Car Fires?

When car fires are related to negligent manufacturing designs or defects, car companies are responsible for resulting injuries. If car manufacturers fail to order recalls for dangerous issues, they must be held accountable. It is important to make these large corporations pay adequate compensation for victims’ pain and suffering.

SUV Rollovers

It is a misconception that large SUVs are safer than small passenger vehicles. Even though SUVs may absorb damage better than small cars, they are at a higher risk for rollovers, which often end with terrible injuries or death. Many SUV manufacturers design vehicles with top-heavy styling and narrow wheel bases. This raises the likelihood of tipping over when accidents occur. Basic changes to SUV designs would alleviate the high threat of rollovers. However, these alterations are costly and lower the bottom lines of major manufacturers.

Injuries Incurred from SUV Rollovers

As an SUV rollover occurs, it is not uncommon for vehicle occupants to experience broken bones and external lacerations. It is also possible for internal injuries to occur. In severe cases, people may suffer spinal cord damage or traumatic brain injuries. Victims may require extensive treatments and rehabilitation to overcome these conditions. Catastrophic injuries may result in permanent disabilities or lifelong deformities. Long term care may cost million of dollars.

Potential Car Defects that Cause Rollovers

An SUV has a higher likelihood of rolling over when it contains certain defects. A major construction defect weakens the vehicle’s chassis. This may cause the suspension to fail while a driver edges around a corner. Brake problems may lead to rollovers, especially with anti-lock brake systems. When brakes fail to work properly, it may be difficult to keep a vehicle stable. Overall design flaws may lead to instability when road imperfections are encountered as well.

Who is Responsible?

When a vehicle rolls over due to poor design, it is important to learn who is responsible for compensation. Car manufacturers must provide safe products to the public. It is essential for designers to create vehicles that are not likely to malfunction. When cars are proven to contain defects in design or engineering that lead to rollovers, the manufacturers must be held accountable.

Car Door Defects

Car doors serve as a line of defense and protection. However, when these doors contain defects, serious injuries may result. The most common car door defects occur with the latches.

Door Latch Malfunctions

When car door latches are defective, the doors may fly open, especially upon impact. This causes a passenger or driver to be ejected from a vehicle. Upon ejection, an individual may be crushed by a rollover or oncoming traffic and may receive injuries after hitting the pavement. Statistics show door latch malfunctions lead to a rise in accident fatalities. Defective door latches may result in other serious injuries, including brain damage or paralysis. These conditions require extensive medical care.

The most common car door defect involves the remote rod. This item connects the door’s handle and latch. When this rod breaks or distorts, the door may open during an accident. The entire car may be placed at risk for collapse. Likewise, it is possible for the reverse to occur. When a car latch does not open properly, passengers and drivers may become trapped.

Testing for Car Door Defects

The motor vehicle industry requires automobile door latches to withstand a certain level of force. However, no crash tests simulate accidents that measure this force. It is nearly impossible to check for defects.

Proving Door Defects

Door defect cases may be difficult to substantiate. It is necessary to prove a car door was defective. It is essential to document all evidence through photographs and journals that include specific details. Even if injuries are minor, it is important to seek medial attention and report the defect. Car manufacturers need to be held responsible for damages so that no more lives are put at risk.

Defective Auto Glass

An automobile is filled with glass. The windshield and other windows act as protective barriers that prevent ejection. Some glass reinforces the roof to add protection during a rollover. However, when auto glass contains defects, protective properties disappear and danger may result.

Various Forms of Glass Used in Vehicles

Recent regulations in the auto industry have set standards regarding the type of glass that can be used in windshields. In the past, tempered glass was commonly used throughout vehicles. This glass was known to shatter violently upon impact. Today, technology has developed laminated glass, which contains a layer of plastic that keeps shattered glass from scattering. For ultimate protection, the latest laws require windshields to be crafted from laminated glass. However, there are no mandates that govern the makeup of windows and sunroofs.

Common Auto Glass Defects and Injuries

It is obvious that auto glass will shatter upon impact. However, laminated glass is made to prevent injuries. Sometimes, windshield defects, faulty side windows, or defective sunroofs lead to serious injuries or worse.

Despite the large amount of data that supports the heightened safety of laminated glass, certain car manufacturers continue to use less effective products. Low quality glass shatters into many pieces, which leaves drivers and passengers vulnerable to harm. Although injuries may be as simple as minor cuts, deficient glass may cause partial or complete vehicle ejection. Also, sharp pieces of broken non-laminated glass can sever muscles or major arteries. This may lead to massive scarring or death.

The use of tempered glass is dangerous in all vehicles, especially SUVs. These large automobiles have a high propensity to rollover. This means occupants using seat belts may experience fatal head injuries after an accident.

Who is Accountable?

When a person becomes injured from an auto glass defect, it is essential to identify the party responsible for compensation. Car manufacturers choose the type of glass used in vehicles. High quality glass costs more to produce and lowers brand profits. When an auto manufacturer chooses to use inferior materials, these large companies should be held accountable for resulting injuries.

Airbag Malfunction

Airbags are meant to save lives. They inflate when a car has been in an accident so that a driver and passengers avoid injuries. However, when these devices malfunction, they cause more harm than good.

Common Airbag Malfunctions

Over the last two decades, 3 million vehicles have been recalled for airbag malfunctions. These problems occur for many reasons. At times, they over inflate and explode with extreme power, inflate at a wrong angle, or fail to inflate at all. Numerous reports show that airbags often deploy when cars experience sudden jerks from road conditions, contain faulty components, or have been installed incorrectly. This often leads to injuries. Although innovative ideas are always being created to make airbags safer, they pose a danger when malfunctions occur.

Injuries Linked to Airbag Malfunction

Although an airbag is designed to prevent injuries that result from a sudden car collision, malfunction during the inflation process can cause injuries as well. The most common harms include burns and abrasions. When airbags inflate faster than they should, they hit the skin at speeds over 200 miles an hour and create friction that burns.

A driver’s airbag is usually placed in the middle part of the steering wheel. Excessive force from a malfunctioning device can sprain the wrists or arms. In more severe situations, a malfunctioning airbag causes bone fractures, head trauma, brain injury, chest injury, or spinal damage. It is not impossible for a person to suffer an eye injury, a broken jaw, or a fatal neck injury as well.

When a defective airbag deploys, it can lead to respiratory issues. As an airbag inflates properly, it generates a harmless gas, which fills the bag. A normal bag contains holes for venting so that the gas can escape quickly. When malfunctions occur, inadequate filtering makes the gas spray out. Besides causing burns, it mixes with the bag’s lubricant to form a noxious combination. As a person inhales this blend of chemicals, breathing problems result.

Who is Responsible?

When an airbag malfunctions, it is important to identify who is responsible for compensation. An auto manufacturer must provide safe products to the public. Although a car manufacturer may not have created or designed the defective airbag, the company installed the product and should be held accountable. Besides using a defective device, a manufacturer’s team of technicians may contribute human error to the installation process, which leads to malfunction as well. There is no recourse but to hold these large car companies responsible for resulting airbag injuries.

Child Seat Defects

Child seats are made to protect young travelers. However, certain designs contain defects, which lead to catastrophic injuries or death. In many situations, properly designed safety seats would prevent these tragedies. Unbelievably, the child safety and automobile industries refuse to take responsibility for these occurrences. Most manufacturers blame innocent parents for the problems.

Common Car Seat Defects

It is important to make the roads safer for children. Every parent must be made aware of possible child seat defects so that serious injuries are avoided. One of the most common defects is the angle of recline. Many front and rear facing child seats are designed to sit horizontally in cars. During accidents, this may cause great harm. Also, the restraints on the seats are often in the wrong places. Chest clips are commonly positioned too far down, which can lead to ejections. Three-point harness straps provide no support to children’s laps, which presents grave danger during accidents as well. Shoulder harness slots are poorly labeled, which makes them difficult to use correctly.

As children age, it becomes necessary to use booster seats. However, these units rarely offer upper body support. During crashes, ejections are likely.

Common Injuries Linked to Child Seat Defects

Although car seats are designed to keep children safe, defects can turn minor car accidents into nightmares. Infants and toddlers may be thrown from these seats, trapped in position, or injured by the seats themselves. If straps are crafted from low-quality materials, tears may occur. This means children can be thrown from the seats. Defective locking mechanisms may make it challenging to remove children during emergencies as well.

Who is Responsible?

When a defective car seat causes a child’s injury, a product liability lawsuit may be filed against the manufacturer. This type of action may be taken when straps, restraint locks, or any other car seat parts are found to be defective. When a manufacturing mistake or design problem leads to a child’s injury, the makers and distribution chain should be held responsible for negligent actions.