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.