What happens when a vehicle’s safety devices fail?

Vehicle manufacturers know their products will be likely be involved in accidents. This is why federal law requires that all vehicles come equipped with safety features and systems designed to protect occupants in most crashes. When these safety systems fail or contain defects that cause serious injury, the manufacturer may be legally responsible.

Vehicle safety system failures may include:

  • Roof crush injury
  • Rollover Collision
  • Seatbelt failure
  • Airbag injury (failure to deploy, late deployment, overly aggressive deployment, explosion)
  • Seatback Failure
  • Tire defects
  • Maintenance and repair failures
  • Vehicle fires
  • Child carseat/booster seat injury
  • Crash Avoidance Technology (failure to equip, defects, etc.)
  • Rear-end crashworthiness
  • Head-on crashworthiness
  • Side-impact crashworthiness

For most Americans, safety is one of the most important aspects of shopping for a car. When we choose a vehicle for ourselves or our family, we want to make sure it will protect us if we are involved in a car accident.  With the advance of modern science, technology exists for vehicles to be designed to protect passengers in most crashes. In many car accidents, the injuries are not caused by the crash itself, but rather by a defect or failure of the vehicle’s safety system. In these cases where numerous passengers occupy the same vehicle, it is common for most passengers to avoid serious injuries, but one suffers serious injuries or is killed. In these cases, this unlucky passenger would have survived or avoided serious injuries if the vehicle’s safety system had performed properly.

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Companies that design and build cars have the financial resources and technology to design their vehicles to protect occupants in the event of a typical crash. Federal law requires that these companies meet certain minimum safety requirements.  The manufacturer may be legally responsible if the vehicle’s safety systems fail to protect vehicle occupants from serious injuries.

Some signs that may indicate a vehicle defect might be involved in a crash:

  • one occupant is seriously injured or killed while other occupants in the same vehicle suffer minor injuries
  • a minor collision at residential speeds caused serious injury or death
  • seat-belted occupants are seriously injured or ejected from the vehicle
  • a specific area of the vehicle failed, such as a tire blowout, roof crush, airbag or seatbelt, seatback failure, etc.

If you or a loved one is seriously injured in a car accident, the Cowden Law Firm will perform a free evaluation to analyze the vehicle and the evidence to determine if you have a case for automotive product liability.

George Cowden has experience successfully handling vehicle defect cases against every major vehicle manufacturer. Do not settle a catastrophic injury or wrongful death case without evaluating a potential crashworthiness case. In these cases, the vehicles involved in the crash are critical evidence. Do not settle the property damage case or sign-over the rights to the vehicle—even if it’s a total loss. The Cowden Law Firm will secure the vehicle so it may be analyzed and preserved as evidence.

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