Many people have an idealized image of driving down the freeway in a convertible with the top down. It is an image often associated with freedom. While many car manufacturers have improved safety features on convertibles in case of collisions, convertible accidents can result in catastrophic or fatal injuries. Sometimes passengers are thrown out of their seats, or a rollover crash kills the occupants of the vehicle. At one point, convertibles were almost banned because of safety considerations, but the ban never took effect. People continue to be seriously injured in convertible accidents. If you are involved in a convertible accident, you should consult the Chicago car accident lawyers at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca.Claims Arising from Convertible Accidents
Convertible rollovers have lessened over time, but there are some significant safety issues associated with riding in them because they do not have a hard fixed roof. They may not be as crashworthy as cars that have hard fixed roofs. If you are injured in a convertible accident, you may have a legal claim against a driver as well as other parties at fault for your injuries.
When a convertible accident is caused by a driver, either of the convertible or of another vehicle, the victim must usually prove that driver's negligence. That is, the victim will need to show that it is more likely than not that the driver owed a duty of reasonable care, the driver failed to operate the car safely and breached the duty of reasonable care, the breach caused injuries, and actual damages were sustained by the accident victim. A breach of the duty to use reasonable care could involve speeding, reckless lane changes, distracted driving, texting while driving, or taking turns too fast. For example, if you are a passenger in a friend's convertible, and he takes a turn too fast, such that the convertible rolls over and you are paralyzed as a result, it is likely that the jury would find that he had been negligent.
If you are in a convertible accident caused by the driver of another vehicle, you may be able to establish that other driver's negligence. However, in most cases, the driver (or his insurance adjuster) will try to show that you were comparatively negligent. The jury will evaluate the actions and omissions of both parties, decide what the damages are, and give each party a percentage of fault. Your damages are lowered by an amount proportionate to your percentage of fault. However, if an Illinois court decides that you are over 50% at fault for the accident, you are barred from recovering damages at all.
Sometimes vehicles do not perform appropriately or are not crashworthy. If a convertible has a defect that contributes to your injuries in a convertible accident, such as a defective seatbelt, it may be appropriate to bring a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the seatbelt or the vehicle.
Convertible manufacturers are supposed to design cars that have appropriate safety measures, such that the vehicle protects people inside it from foreseeable harm. There are instances in which a convertible's structure fails, or a safety mechanism such as an airbag or seatbelt fails. Sometimes it is appropriate to bring a crashworthiness claim that the convertible was not fit to withstand a crash and maintain the safety of the people inside. In such cases, the plaintiff’s attorney alleges that the vehicle was not designed appropriately to withstand a collision. If you suffered injuries that are worse than what you would have suffered in an initial collision, you may have a claim for a lack of crashworthiness. Often, it is necessary to retain experts to strengthen crashworthiness allegations.
If you are able to establish liability, you may be able to recover economic and noneconomic damages. These can include medical expenses, such as the cost of emergency care and hospitalization, as well as lost income, replacement services, and medical equipment. Sometimes, the kinds of injuries that are sustained affect earning capacity, and it may be necessary to prove lost income and lost earning capacity. Intangible losses that may be recovered include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and lost enjoyment of life.Get Advice from a Knowledgeable Car Crash Lawyer in Chicago
Convertible accidents can result in devastating injuries. It is important to consult an experienced personal injury attorney who can explore all of the aspects of how the convertible accident affected your daily life. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent car accident victims in Chicago, Aurora, Springfield, Champaign, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as other cities in Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. You can call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation.