Crashworthiness refers to the ability of a vehicle to protect its occupants in the event of a collision. In crashworthiness cases, the cause of the motor vehicle accident is not considered as important as the "second collision" - the one in which the passengers collide with the interior of the vehicle.
Crashworthiness Safety Features
To avoid second collisions, car manufacturers have designed a number of safety features. Crashworthiness features such as airbags, seat belts, roll bars, and headrests are designed to minimize injury and the risk of fire, as well as prevent ejection from the vehicle. However, when these features fail, serious injury can occur, leading to questions of whether a vehicle met the appropriate standards of crashworthiness.
There are two types of defects that typically lead to serious injury: manufacturing defects and design defects. In addition, manufacturers and retailers are obligated to warn consumers about a potentially dangerous aspect of a vehicle, an obligation that is sometimes not fulfilled, resulting in injuries that might otherwise have been avoided.
Crashworthiness vs. Vehicle Safety
It is important to note that crashworthiness is different from vehicle safety. Crashworthiness is the ability of the vehicle to protect its occupants, while the term vehicle safety encompasses both crashworthiness and accident-avoidance features such as wider tires and anti-lock brakes.
Crashworthiness features are especially important in accidents that involve vehicle rollover. Since SUVs are more top heavy than passenger cars, they are more likely to roll over in the event of an accident. In addition, very few SUVs are equipped with a roll bar, a crashworthiness feature that reduces the degree to which the roof of the vehicle will cave in. As a result, SUV rollover is more likely to result in serious and even fatal injuries.
Do You Have a Viable Crashworthiness Lawsuit? Learn More
When assessing the validity of a crashworthiness case, attorneys attempt to determine whether the passengers would have fared better if the car had included certain features intended to reduce the risk of injury.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to an auto accident or SUV rollover, you should contact a crashworthiness attorney for more information.