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The Role of Crashworthiness in Car Accidents

Today, crashworthiness is recognized as one of the most important aspects to be considered in the aftermath of any car accident that results from a defective auto product. Defined as a vehicle’s ability to prevent injury to occupants in the event of a collision, crashworthiness is a critical aspect in determining in whom liability should be placed if a claim for compensation is made.

Rather than the immediate impact that is felt upon a car’s collision with another object, crashworthiness instead relates to the “second impact” that is felt; an impact that results from the collision’s natural forces in which both driver and passenger are at risk of crashing against other objects inside of the motor vehicle. Damages that are sustained upon the second impact of a collision can still qualify for compensation, and a New York City personal injury lawyer from our firm can help in cases of this nature.

Crashworthiness Features

Vehicles that are deemed to be crashworthy are those that are designed in a manner that effectively distributes potentially injurious forces over a substantial period of time and distance. In spreading out these impactful forces and directing them to other areas of the body that might be more capable of withstanding them, serious injury to the driver and passengers of the vehicle can best be avoided. Specific design elements that are intended to weather the force of a collision include:

  • Airbags
  • Seat belts
  • Crumple zones

All three of these features can be specially designed for the purpose of preventing ejection from the vehicle, reducing the risk of a vehicle fire, and minimizing an occupant’s injuries as much as possible. If any one of the components listed above is found to be defective in its make and manufacture, then the vehicle’s crashworthiness could be significantly and adversely affected. For this reason, it is imperative that crashworthy features of the vehicle are intimately scrutinized in the investigative processes following an auto accident.

How to Claim Liability in Cases Related to Crashworthiness

Liability claims in car accident cases that were not caused because of a product’s defects, but were effectively made worse because of the defects can be more complicated than normal liability lawsuits. The concept that must be applied to liability cases of this nature relates to the fact that the vehicle’s defectiveness could be responsible for the serious degree of the injuries that resulted from the accident. In such cases, the manufacturer of the defective auto product can still be held liable, but the liability will be made on a different set of terms.

Crashworthiness liability claims concern whether or not the manufacturer fulfilled his or her responsibility to design a vehicle and its components that are safe for all types of foreseeable usage in the future. Foreseeable use can include the possibility for collision, making part of the manufacturer’s duty to ensure that the design of the vehicle is reasonably safe enough to protect occupants in the event of a car collision.

Any injury that is sustained as a result of an automobile’s crashworthiness is considered to be separate from those injuries caused by the accident itself, thus making crashworthy-related injuries ones that can be compensated apart from others. Pursing a claim based on crashworthiness should include the following components:

  • Plaintiff must prove that the reasonably avoidable design feature consequently made the injuries sustained in the accident worse than they might otherwise have been
  • Plaintiff should show that there was a safety device available, and that the device should have been used

Other facets will also be involved in claims of this nature, which is why it is imperative that you secure skillful legal representation to advocate on your behalf at this time. With the help of a professional personal injury attorney from Greenberg & Stein, P.C. on your side, you can most effectively pursue a claim based on crashworthiness in New York.

If you need a lawyer for your car accident case in New York City, NY, then you can connect with Greenberg & Stein, P.C. for help. Contact us today to learn more during a free consultation with a New York City car accident attorney at the office.