Imagine an accident in which a distracted driver smashes into another vehicle in Philadelphia. Then the impacted vehicle rolls over and the roof crushes in, catastrophically injuring the innocent occupants. The injury victims could pursue a personal injury claim against the distracted driver for negligence as a means of financially recouping for their injuries and suffering. This is something that most people are aware of. However, not everyone realizes that in circumstances of this nature, the victims could also be able to hold the auto manufacturer financially accountable through a product liability claim.
In many instances, a vehicle is improperly designed or is defective. This can in some cases directly lead to an accident, if a gas pedal sticks or something similar. However, more often, a defect will make an accident that could have yielded minor or no injuries catastrophic. In the above example, if the car is poorly designed, an accident can cause the vehicle to roll, opening the door for more injuries. Further if the vehicle’s roof caves in, then the car could be defective. Both would be issues related to product liability.
It is an auto maker’s responsibility to make sure that they are selling consumers vehicles that are designed and manufactured with safety in mind. With 35,000 victims of fatal accidents every year across the nation, safety should always be top of mind. Researchers are looking at ways to improve the safety testing of vehicles by developing more sensitive and true-to-life representations of drivers to replace the crash test dummies currently in place. Hopefully changes like this will save lives.
Source: Claims Journal, “Outdated Crash Test Dummies Blamed for Continued Auto Fatalities,” Denise Johnson, Dec. 18, 2012