Cars and trucks are coming out with newer and more advanced safety features every year. The goal is to reduce the number of accidents and to reduce the severity of injury when an accident occurs. Automobile manufacturers have made great strides over the years in reducing severe injuries and fatalities with safety devices like seat belts, airbags, and anti lock brakes. There are occasions, however, when car makers do not get it right, when they overlook a potential hazard, or worse, when they learn of a hazard but keep the information to themselves while they continue to sell the vehicles. When that happens, attorneys are often called upon to assist clients who’ve been injured or lost a loved one because of a defect in the vehicle. Here are a few areas of automotive product liability lawyers are involved with.
Crashworthiness is a concept involving an automobile’s ability to protect its occupants during a crash. We’ve all seen the footage of test dummies being hurled down a track behind the wheel and crashing into a wall. Measurements are then taken to see how to dummies would have fared were they real people in a real crash. There are several things that need to work together to keep people safe in a crash. The airbags need to deploy when appropriate. Seat belts need to engage. Flammable substances in vehicle need to be kept away from sources of fire ignition to keep the car from catching fire. The frame of the vehicle needs to hold firm to keep people from being crushed. The crumple zone of a car needs to absorb the force of the impact so all of it is not felt by the passengers. These and other factors go into making a vehicle crashworthy. When one of these systems fails, people can get hurt or killed. Cases involving crashworthiness involve one of these systems failing and a passenger that should have been kept safe during a crash being severely injured or killed as a result.