Almost all cars perform adequately and safely when driven under optimal driving conditions: attentive and rule-abiding drivers driving the speed limit, smooth roads, good weather, and no surprises. However, if something goes wrong, your vehicle should also keep you safe in an accident. If a car will not keep you safe in an accident in Southern California, its crashworthiness may be poor. Crashworthiness involves multiple safety issues. If your vehicle is not crashworthy, and you get into an accident, a Los Angeles car accident lawyer at Sharifi Firm may be able to help you file suit against not only an at-fault driver but a car manufacturer as well.Claims Based on Crashworthiness
Crashworthiness involves issues such as restraint systems like seatbelts and airbags, anti-ejection measures, crush control in SUVs, and fire prevention. It may be a particularly important issue in cases involving SUVs when a manufacturer has not taken significant steps to reduce the compression of the cabin and roof crush to allow the occupants to survive. Often, crashworthiness comes up in a single-vehicle collision case involving an SUV, pickup, or van, but it may also be an element of a multi-car crash claim.
Most of the time, the victims of a car accident do not know whether crashworthiness was an issue in the crash and whether a vehicle's lack of safety exacerbated the harm that came to them. In order to determine whether you have a crashworthiness claim, we will need to work with experts. The key question is whether your injuries were caused partially because your car was not crashworthy or whether you would have sustained those injuries even in a crashworthy vehicle. An expert can also evaluate whether there was an alternative design that the manufacturer could have used to make the car safer in case of a crash.
There are numerous safety features on a car that may actually cause injuries or make injuries worse. For example, airbags have been known to kill and injure children and small women. In some cases, a person is more seriously harmed due to an airbag than they would have been without it. Similarly, in rollover accidents, the roof may be flimsy for style reasons or attempts to reduce weight. There are instances in which seatbelts are defective and fail. All of these are potential crashworthiness issues.
Sometimes an accident victim could have walked away relatively unharmed in a safe car. The serious injuries come from some defect within the car, and this is called "the second accident." Often, a manufacturer defends a lawsuit vigorously, arguing that the plaintiff's own comparative negligence was the cause of the accident, that another driver's negligence was the cause of the accident, or that the vehicle is actually crashworthy because it complies with industry or federal safety standards. It is important to retain an attorney who knows how to counter these claims.
When a jury finds any fault on the part of a manufacturer in California, it may become liable for all of the economic damages except an amount equal to the percentage of fault attributable to the plaintiff. Economic damages include tangible losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, lost income, and household services. In California, each defendant will only be responsible for a share of a plaintiff's noneconomic damages up to its degree of fault. Noneconomic damages include intangible losses, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.Discuss Your Car Crash Case with a Los Angeles Attorney
Crashworthiness litigation requires an extremely experienced attorney. Generally, car manufacturers have substantial resources and sophisticated attorneys who are willing to invest a lot of time and energy to avoid paying a victim. It is important for a victim’s advocate to have a reputation for being able to take a case to trial. At Sharifi Firm, APC, our experienced Los Angeles attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation based on problems with crashworthiness. We can determine a strategy to pursue your damages and take an aggressive approach in seeking to hold a manufacturer or other parties accountable. Contact us online or call us at (866) 422-7222 for a free appointment with a motor vehicle collision lawyer. Our firm also represents injured people in Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, San Bernardino, and Riverside, among other Southern California cities.