Chris and James Welsh of Welsh & Welsh
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How Does Crashworthiness Impact an Injury Settlement?

Published on Nov 7, 2018 at 3:02 pm in Car Accidents.

Our vehicles are designed to get us where we’re going and to get us there safely. In the event you find yourself the victim of an accident, you’ll undoubtedly want your vehicle’s safety features to hold up and keep you from sustaining any serious injuries. In some instances, however, those safety features fail and you or your passengers may be injured beyond what you would have been if those features had been effective.

What Is Crashworthiness?

If you’ve been in a car accident, you may be wondering how the claim process works and who should be held accountable for your injuries. In some cases, the parties involved in the collision may not be deemed liable in there was a vehicle defect.

During a collision, the occupants are subjected to multiple forces that can lead to them bouncing inside the car or even being ejected. A car that is crashworthy will decrease the possibility of this happening. Crashworthiness refers to a vehicle’s ability to prevent injuries to the occupants in the event of a wreck. These cases typically deal with secondary collisions in which the occupants make contact with the interior of the vehicle. Because of this, the cause of the accident is considered irrelevant.

A vehicle’s safety level and overall crashworthiness can be affected if an auto part is defective or an error was made during the manufacturing or design process.

What Factors Determine Crashworthiness?

Various aspects of your vehicle can contribute to its crashworthiness. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) evaluates the crashworthiness of passenger vehicles with a five-star system, to make consumers aware of which vehicles are the safest. Some of the factors that affect this rating are:

  • Airbags
  • Crumple zones
  • Roof Strength
  • Seatbelts
  • Safety cage strength

Let’s take a look at the issues those factors can have and how it can affect the outcome of an accident.

  • Airbag Failures. When an airbag is defective it may fail to deploy, fail to fully inflate, or it may deploy at the wrong time. If an airbag deploys at the from time, a driver of the vehicle may get into an accident. If an airbag fails to deploy correctly or at all in the event of an accident, it’s likely the driver or passengers will sustain injuries.
  • Crumple Zone and Roof Failures. The crumple zones on a car are designed to deform during a collision, which absorbs some of the energy of the impact. If the crumple zones are defective, it’s likely the passengers will sustain injuries because the impact energy will be transferred to them. A defective roof can be dangerous in the event of a rollover accident.
  • Seatbelt Failure. Seatbelts, when effective, can save lives. A defective seatbelt may fail to stay latched during an accident or not lock up when it needs to. If there is too much slack, the person is at risk of making contact with the inside of the car.

Other auto defects and structural failures that impact a vehicle’s crashworthiness include vehicle seat failures, door failures, and tire failures.

How Does Crashworthiness Affect Accident Liability?

If your accident was caused by a vehicle defect or the compromised crashworthiness of your vehicle led to injuries that would have otherwise been prevented, our lawyers can conduct further investigations to determine liability and your eligibility for compensation. We’ll take into consideration dangerous vehicle design, defective vehicle components, and structural defects. Most vehicle defects are a result of a manufacturing issue, a design flaw, or a failure to warn.

With many auto defect claims, the liabilities parties may include the automaker, vehicle equipment manufacturers, or the safety testing consultants or engineers. We’ll work with you to determine which party is liable, so you can seek justice and aid in the prevention of future accidents.

If you’ve been injured in a crash as a result of a defective car part, our product liability attorneys are here for you. We understand how difficult and confusing of a time this can be. We can look into your claim, determine who the liability party should be, and build you a case to get you compensation that will aid with your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact our law firm online or by phone today.