Car accidents are an unfortunate reality in Illinois and across the United States. Automobile manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that cars function as safely as possible in the event of a collision. If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident caused by an auto defect or a lack of crashworthiness, our Wheaton and Schaumburg car accident attorneys can assist you. At Therman Law Offices, we have extensive experience investigating these cases and pursuing claims against the at-fault parties.Crashworthiness and Risks of Collisions
Crashworthiness is the degree to which a vehicle will protect its occupants from the effects of a collision. This is an especially important concept in vehicle defect cases because it pertains to a vehicle’s ability to prevent injuries. Features such as airbags, seatbelts, and headrests are designed to minimize passenger and driver injuries at the time of an accident. During a collision, a vehicle’s occupants are subject to many forces that can result in injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has set standards that car manufacturers must meet to receive a crashworthiness rating for different types of crashes. Essentially, vehicles are tested to see how they fare in types of accidents such as head-on collisions, side-impact accidents, and rear-end crashes. If a car’s design or construction failed to meet the standard of crashworthiness, the manufacturer may be liable.
Car manufacturers have a legal obligation to put safe vehicles into the market. Under the crashworthiness doctrine, a manufacturer of a vehicle may be liable for enhanced injuries sustained in a car accident as a result of an auto defect. It is important to note that injuries caused by a vehicle’s lack of crashworthiness are considered separately from the injuries that were caused by the accident itself. Put simply, if the car made the accident worse, your attorney may be able to sue the manufacturer through a product liability claim. Product liability refers to lawsuits based on injuries suffered as a result of a faulty product. For example, if an airbag injured you by improperly deploying in a low-impact rear-end collision, the manufacturer may be liable for your resulting harm. This is because a properly designed or constructed airbag would not deploy in low-impact collisions, since this could cause injuries to motorists.
In Illinois, when a vehicle is not crashworthy, manufacturers are strictly liable for the harm caused by the auto defect. Strict liability refers to fault that is imposed without regard to proof of negligence. To recover compensation under a strict liability theory, the plaintiff must simply establish that the auto defect existed at the time that the vehicle left the manufacturer’s control and that the defect was a direct cause of the plaintiff’s injury. The plaintiff’s attorney may establish the auto defect by direct evidence, circumstantial evidence, or even inference.
Damages potentially available to victims who suffer injuries due to a vehicle’s lack of crashworthiness may include a variety of things, such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability, and any other losses arising from the accident. Each case is unique, and the exact amount of compensation that a plaintiff will be entitled to receive will depend on the extent and nature of the injuries suffered. Establishing damages in these cases can be challenging, since it must be shown that your injury was enhanced beyond what the injury would have been if the vehicle had been crashworthy. This is an important reason why you should retain an injury attorney to bring your claim.Discuss Your Car Crash Case with a Knowledgeable Attorney in Schaumburg or Wheaton
Crashworthiness cases can be complex, but having experienced legal representation on your side can make a critical difference in your outcome. If you are seriously injured, or someone in your family is killed in a car accident due to an auto defect, you need to reach out to an injury lawyer without delay. At Therman Law Offices, we can examine the specifics of your case and help you determine an appropriate course of action. We proudly assist clients in the areas around Wheaton, Schaumburg, Bloomingdale, Roselle, Carol Stream, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Villa Park, Addison, and Elmhurst. To speak to us in more detail, call us today at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.