Does Vehicle Crashworthiness Affect Your Case?

A vehicle's crashworthiness is its ability to protect occupants during any type of impact. Aspects of the vehicle contributing to its crashworthiness include the structural design elements — including door locks, air bags, seat belts, tires and suspension. Regardless of where in the world they are manufactured, new vehicles are subjected to exhaustive testing during development to ensure the safety of their occupants.

Testing The Potential Effects Of An Accident

Vehicle safety is tested by subjecting crash test dummies to the various types of possible collisions, including head-on, rear-end and rollover accidents. Within these test scenarios, instruments attached to the vehicles and dummies record details of the accident and resulting damage and injuries. This allows engineers and other experts to attempt to minimize the harm resulting from vehicle collisions.

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When Litigation Becomes Necessary

There is a specific type of litigation against auto makers when a vehicle's design causes an accident or makes the harm from an accident worse than it would have been otherwise. This is commonly known as crashworthiness litigation. Seat belts are items that are often addressed in this litigation. If a seat belt fails in a collision, a vehicle occupant may be seriously injured in ways that would not have occurred had the seat belt worked as it's meant to. Similarly, an implosion in the vehicle can cause a piece of the car's body, engine or machinery to forcefully enter the passenger compartment, leading to massive injuries to the vehicle's occupants. Studies suggest that these types of intrusion injuries do not occur in vehicles with superior designs.