Auto Crashworthiness Attorney in St. Louis
What Is Crashworthiness?
Auto manufacturers have an obligation to provide vehicles with a certain level of safety to consumers. When a vehicle is well made and designed, it will reasonably protect the occupants should an accident occur. Crashworthiness is the ability of the vehicle to sustain an impact and protect the driver and passengers in the event of a crash.
If you have ever seen a commercial where a crash test dummy is used in a simulated car accident, you have witnessed a crashworthiness test. How much damage did the dummy sustain? Are there improvements that can be made to increase the crashworthiness of the vehicle? These are the questions that must be asked by manufacturers before they put a vehicle in the market. When they fail to do so, there is an increased risk of defective autos making their way to consumers.
Liability for Crashworthiness in Missouri
Following a car accident in Missouri, it must be determined who the liable party is. If a motorist caused the crash by speeding or running a red light, for example, they may be held liable for the damages suffered by a victim. In circumstances where the vehicle failed to protect the occupants, additional compensation may be available through civil litigation against the auto manufacturer.
Legal Responsibility of Auto Manufacturers
Automakers are responsible for the design, assembly, and functionality of the safety features in their vehicles. Vehicle manufacturers are liable when the injuries suffered by the victim are severe because of a lack of crashworthiness. Crashworthiness is put to the test during what is known as the "second collision." The first collision is the impact between the car and whatever the vehicle strikes – be it another vehicle or a stationary object. The second collision is the moment that the victim suffers an injury. Did the victim strike their head against the roof or the steering wheel? Did the airbag fail to deploy? Did the roof on the vehicle crush the victim during a rollover car accident? These are some of the important questions that must be asked in the aftermath of a car crash.
Proving a Lack of Crashworthiness
Anyone involved in a serious car accident would be well-advised to preserve the vehicle in its damaged state for an investigation. A skilled Missouri personal injury attorney can work with investigators to determine if the victim has a valid claim. It will be important to gather information from the crash site, the victim's medical records, and eye witness accounts. In addition, the vehicle must be examined thoroughly by an expert for product defects, malfunctions, and design flaws.
Holding Automakers Liable in Missouri
It is not easy to pursue financial compensation from a major corporation, such as a vehicle manufacturer. The injured victim will have to prove that they suffered a loss and that the automaker's negligence or failure to manufacture a safe vehicle caused that loss. A successful product liability claim in Missouri can result in financial compensation for losses such as medical bills, loss of earnings, past and future suffering, and emotional distress.
Our skilled St. Louis car accident lawyers have a successful track record of holding automakers accountable if it is determined their vehicle was not adequately designed or was comprised of defective parts. If you believe you suffered injuries because of the design, assembly, or functionality of your vehicle, call our law offices today at (314) 322-8515 for a free consultation.