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What Is "Crashworthiness" And How Does It Apply To My Orange County Accident Claim?

  •  Ford recently recalled about 135,000 F-150 pick-up trucks after the NHTSA received complaints of airbags deploying without warning.

  • Last December, General Motors recalled its 2011 Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC terrain because the seat belt anchor could fracture and come loose in a crash.

  •  In 2009, Honda recalled more than one million vehicles because the airbag could over-inflate and explode. 

There have been hundreds of vehicles recalled for safety defects in the last few years. Many of these recalls were prompted by vehicle defects that increase the risk of injury in a crash. If you were injured in an Orange County car accident, you may be wondering:  

-- Was my car at fault?

-- Did my car do everything it was supposed to do to prevent my injury?

The term "crashworthiness" refers to the ability of a vehicle to prevent injuries to its occupants in the event of an accident. Crashworthiness features include any safety features designed to minimize occupant injuries and death.  
Examples include:

  • Seat belts
  • Crumple zones
  • Airbags
  • Side curtain air bags
  • Anti-fire features
  • Safety doors and windows

What is a crashworthiness liability case?
Federal statues require that automobile design include crashworthiness as one of its goals. All vehicles sold in the United states must be in compliance with government safety standards and vehicle manufacturers have a duty to build cars that are as safe as is reasonably possible and do not pose a safety threat.
A crashworthiness case holds a vehicle manufacturer liable for injuries caused in a car accident because the safety features such as seat belts or airbags did not work as intended. In a crashworthiness case, the reason for the accident is irrelevant. Even a driver who is clearly at fault for a crash has the right to file a crashworthiness case if he sustained injuries because his airbag did not deploy.
In order to win a crashworthiness case, you must be able to show that a design feature of the car either caused an injury or increased the risk of injury.

  • A man was ejected from his vehicle and sustained serious injuries because his seat belt did not stay buckled during the crash
  • An airbag did not deploy and the passenger sustained serious head trauma
  • An airbag deployed with too much force and causing injury to the driver
  • A small woman slid out from under her seat belt because the seat belt did not fit properly

If you believe a vehicle defect contributed to your California accident injuries, contact Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie. We can schedule a free consultation with a Newport Beach car crash attorney to discuss your possible case. There is no obligation.
To learn more about the rights of California accident victims, download our free book: "7 Mistakes That Could Sabotage Your Accident Claim."




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