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The Concept of "Crashworthiness"

Airbags and lap or shoulder belts together are very effective, but there are circumstances when inflating airbags have caused serious injuries, even deaths.

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At Kolker & Germeroth, L.L.C., we provide an aggressive pursuit of justice for the victims of injuries that occur as a result of motor vehicle defects in St. Louis and throughout Missouri. To learn more about our practice in this area, visit our Car Parts Defects page.

Below we have included some helpful information about motor vehicle defects. To find out more about how our attorneys can help you with your specific legal needs, contact us today.

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Motor vehicle defect claims require the help of experienced trial lawyers. Each of our lawyers has more than 15 years of experience and has secured verdicts and settlements for our clients in excess of $1 million.

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The Concept of "Crashworthiness"

The most important concept in vehicle defect liability cases is "crashworthiness". Crashworthiness is the ability of a vehicle to prevent injuries to the occupants in the event of a collision. During a collision, a vehicle's occupants are subject to a number of forces that can result in injury, including rapid deceleration and rapid acceleration, depending on the direction of impact in the collision.

Crashworthiness deals primarily with the 'second collision' that results from these forces, in which the driver and passengers are thrown around the interior of the vehicle. An effective crashworthy vehicle design will distribute these injurious forces over as great a period of time and distance as possible, including by directing them to parts of the body that are more capable of withstanding them. Crashworthiness features, which are designed to minimize occupant injuries, prevent ejection from the vehicle, and reduce the risk of fire, include: seat belts, crumple zones and airbags (including side impact protection).

Your choice of attorney to represent your interests in a motor vehicle defects case could mean the difference between successful negotiations or expensive, ongoing litigation. Call Kolker & Germeroth, LLC in Clayton, Missouri, today to schedule a consultation with an attorney who can provide a clear explanation of your legal rights and options.

Liability Based On "Crashworthiness"

It is key to remember that the cause of the accident is usually considered irrelevant in crashworthiness cases, but that the concept can be used to hold a vehicle manufacturer liable for injuries sustained in a car accident because of a defect that was not the cause of the accident, but caused or made worse the injuries suffered in the accident. Basically, crashworthiness is concerned with whether the manufacturer designed the vehicle and its components so that it is safe for any reasonably foreseeable use. A vehicle's reasonably foreseeable use includes the possibility of its involvement in a collision; therefore, a manufacturer's duty extends to the design of a vehicle that is reasonably safe should a collision occur. Injuries caused by a vehicle's crashworthiness are considered (and can be compensated) apart from the injuries that were caused by the accident itself. This distinction can prove to be a little difficult when it comes time to prove your injuries and their causes, especially when it comes to medical proof of the extent of an enhanced injury beyond the injury that could have been expected if the vehicle had been crashworthy.

Recently, there has been significant effort in Congress and in some state legislatures, to establish that a vehicle manufacturer's compliance with government safety standards is a valid defense to a vehicle defect claim, but courts are continuing to rule that, regardless of federal standards, vehicle manufacturers have a duty to build a car that is as safe as is reasonably possible under the present state of mechanical technology, vehicle design, and safety.

Pursuing Your Claim Based On "Crashworthiness"

In order for you to recover in a claim based on a motor vehicle's crashworthiness, you will likely need to show that a design feature that was reasonably avoidable either caused an injury in an automobile accident, or increased the risk of that injury. One of the most effective ways to establish this is to show that a safety device was available, and that such a device could have and should have been used.

Contact a Product Liability Lawyer

An experienced products liability attorney from Kolker & Germeroth, LLC in Clayton, Missouri, can answer questions you may have about your case. Contact Kolker & Germeroth, LLC today to schedule a consultation.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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