A legal claim involving “crashworthiness” includes allegations that a vehicle was not fit to withstand a collision and maintain the safety of vehicle occupants. When victims suffer injuries worse than what they would have endured in the initial collision alone, they may have a strong claim for a lack of crashworthiness. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, our Chicago car accident lawyers hold vehicle manufacturers and sellers accountable for contributing to victims’ injuries through a lack of crashworthiness. By evaluating and setting forth strong evidence in support of a crashworthiness claim, we have successfully secured monetary damages for victims throughout Illinois. The complexity of a crashworthiness case often requires expert opinions, and our AV-rated firm maintains relationships with accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, and other experts who can help strengthen a claim for compensation.Crashworthiness Allegations in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Crashworthiness claims involve allegations that a vehicle was not designed to properly withstand a crash. In other words, the vehicle played a role in the injuries suffered by the driver and passengers. While there may be many causes for an initial crash, such as speeding, distracted driving, or other negligent conduct, crashworthiness injuries are sometimes termed “secondary collisions.” This term refers to the fact that crashworthiness claims often involve the secondary collision that occurs when a driver or passenger collides with the inside of the vehicle.
A vehicle manufacturer is responsible for designing a car that includes properly functioning safety features. If a vehicle lacks sufficient mechanisms designed to keep passengers and drivers safe, they may be liable for the resulting harm. When a lack of crashworthiness leads to injuries, and victims suffer harm beyond what they would have suffered in the accident without the design defect, they can assert a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Vehicle manufacturers must ensure that their products are safe and will protect occupants from foreseeable harm. Whether the vehicle structure has failed, or a component is defective, it is important to assess the role of the vehicle in increasing or causing the occupant’s injuries. Vehicle safety mechanisms that may be assessed in a crashworthiness claim can include airbags, seat belts, and brake systems, as well as a range of other vehicle components.
Crashworthiness research is conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA recalls defective vehicle parts that have injured consumers, and it sets forth safety ratings that provide information on the safety of a specific vehicle. A primary goal of the NHTSA is enhancing occupant safety, and for this reason, it conducts research into safety measures that reduce injuries.
The three common types of defects that may lead to a product liability claim are manufacturing defects, design defects, and failures to warn. One important aspect of a crashworthiness claim is that it does not matter who was at fault for causing the underlying crash; if a vehicle defect increased the severity of the occupants’ injuries, the manufacturer may be liable.
When asserting a crashworthiness claim, a medical expert and a crash reconstructionist may help to strengthen an allegation that a defect in the vehicle design increased the occupant’s injuries or caused a death that would not have happened otherwise. It is important for victims to understand that the defect need not have caused the accident, but it must have worsened the injuries compared to a situation in which there was not a defect.Consult an Experienced Chicago Attorney Regarding Your Crashworthiness Claim
As accident victims assert their right to compensation for medical costs, emotional pain and suffering, and missed wages from work after an accident, the Chicago attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca can help. Our AV-rated firm advocates for injured accident victims and their families, recovering monetary compensation on their behalf. We have represented people in Aurora, Quincy, Champaign, Springfield, and other areas of Cook, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, Kane, and Adams Counties. Contact our office by calling (800) 444-1525 or reach us online to schedule your free consultation.