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Crashworthiness: A Legal Doctrine

Dec 22, 2007
Some might say that all car accidents are the same. Certainly, there are several legal factors that enter into an automobile accident investigation and litigation. Circumstances surrounding the accident, such as weather conditions, possible intoxication or impairment on the part of one or both drivers, and fault or intention are key. In addition, the extent and severity of injury or death involved in an automobile accident are vital factors. But the missing "third defendant" in many automobile accident litigations is the car manufacturer - the people responsible for the safety features of a car's design. A car that is not crashworthy, or capable of protecting its occupants during a crash, may be subject to crashworthiness litigation.

The doctrine of crashworthiness essentially states that a vehicle's manufacturer is liable for enhanced injuries sustained in an automobile accident. These injuries take place during the second collision, or the moment at which the occupant of a vehicle sustains injury. The actual car crash is considered the "first collision" for these purposes. Crashworthiness requires a manufacturer to assume liability for any negligence or defect in the design of a car. In short, it is a manufacturer's duty to sell cars that are designed to provide protection during a car crash.

What Does Crashworthiness Litigation Entail?

If you decide to hire a lawyer to litigate your crashworthiness case, be prepared for a long process. First, your attorney will examine whether your case is even worth pursuing. If your lawyer determines that damages in your crashworthiness case will exceed the cost of litigation, he will file a lawsuit and begin the extensive litigation process.

Litigating an automobile crashworthiness case will involve an extensive investigation. This crashworthiness investigation will involve a professional investigator who evaluates the accident scene, vehicles involved in the crash, reports by medical examiners and/or police, and gathers information from other sources such as motor vehicle engineering analyses and vehicle compliance tests. Your attorney will rely on the reports of this expert investigator, along with testimony from other expert witnesses, in order to litigate your crashworthiness case. It is your attorney's job to cross the major hurdles in the discovery process that characterize crashworthiness litigation.

If your case does not reach settlement and instead goes to trial, expect your attorney to incur significant expenses for trial exhibits, exhibit preparation and presentation, and even mock trials. If you have been involved in a car accident and believe your case warrants an automobile crashworthiness litigation, contact an experienced defective products attorney immediately.
About the Author
LegalView.com is your source for everything legal. Visit http://legalview.com. Visitors to LegalView.com can get help to find a construction accident lawyer , a mesothelioma attorney, and more. You can also get help to find an auto accident lawyer at http://crash.legalview.com.
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