We Can Help with Your Occupant Ejection Claim
One of the biggest challenges a person may face in his or her lifetime is the aftermath of a serious car crash. When faced with physical‚ financial‚ and emotional strain‚ accident survivors can turn to family and friends to help them cope. It is an unfortunate reality that financial matters can be the most trying after an auto accident caused by another’s negligence. It is this situation that calls for the help of an experienced attorney who can help you evaluate your legal options for holding negligent parties liable and getting the money you deserve to offset medical expenses‚ lost wages‚ and other economic damages.
When buying a vehicle‚ a consumer trusts that the vehicle will protect him or her in the event of a crash. A vehicle’s structural ability to protect its occupants during an accident is known as its crashworthiness. However‚ when auto makers are negligent in the design or manufacture process‚ serious injuries may result. At the Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers‚ our San Diego car accident lawyers have years of experience building effective cases for positive results.
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One Accident Can Change Everything
Traffic collisions can be extremely destructive – even seemingly minor accidents have the potential to cause serious bodily injury to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Additionally, accidents involving vehicle ejections have proven to be significantly more fatal. According to a 2014 report from The Scientific World Journal, researchers found that passengers who were ejected from their vehicles during a collision were over five times more likely to pass away than passengers who were not. Tragically, many individuals who initially survive a vehicle ejection accident will later succumb to their life-threatening injuries.
Understanding Vehicle Ejections and Seatbelts
Any average-sized vehicle can easily weigh over 3,000 pounds. According to Newton’s second law of motion, a 3,000-pound vehicle traveling at 70 miles per hour has approximately 15.8 million pounds of forward-moving force to release in the event of a collision. If that forward-moving force comes to a sudden stop during an accident, then any passengers inside will feel every pound of that force – they’ll be violently projected forward at a rate of 70 miles per hour, restrained only by seatbelts and airbags. In fact, many passengers will actually sustain serious injuries just from the sheer impact force between their bodies and the vehicle’s safety equipment; seat belts have been known to cause broken ribs, while airbags have been known to cause concussions.
However, seat belts are absolutely critical in preventing vehicle ejections. According to a 2012 study by the Association for the Advancement on Automotive Medicine (AAAM) on the factors affecting ejection risk in rollover crashes, scientists concluded that “seatbelt use was found to reduce the risk of partial ejection and virtually eliminate the risk of complete ejection.” However, if a passenger isn’t wearing their seat belt, or if the seat belt is defective due to a vehicle manufacturer’s negligence, then the risk of that passenger being ejected is much more significant – especially during high-speed impacts.
According to AAAM’s 2012 report, “For unbelted occupants, the risk of complete ejection was significantly increased in rollover crashes involving more roof inversions, light-terrain vehicles, far side occupants, and higher levels of roof crush.”
Seatbelts are specifically designed by engineers to keep you in place during a high-impact collision. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), passengers without seatbelts are 30 times more likely to be ejected during a collision.
Who Is Liable for a Passenger’s Ejection from a Vehicle?
There are many factors that can contribute to a driver’s or passenger’s ejection from a vehicle during a crash‚ especially a rollover accident. As noted above, one of the most crucial is not wearing a seatbelt. A properly functioning seatbelt can prevent ejection from the vehicle in almost all types of auto accidents.
There are instances when a defect in the restraint system causes the seatbelt to malfunction or break‚ however‚ in which case all an occupant relies on to keep him or her in the vehicle is the vehicle itself. The main vehicle contributors to occupant ejection in a crash are:
- Window strength/laminated glazing versus tempered glazing;
- Presence of curtain airbags;
- Roof strength; and
- Door function.
Window strength is very important in a crash‚ particularly a rollover crash. If a window easily breaks‚ it increases the risk of an occupant being ejected through the empty space. Side curtain airbags can mitigate an ejection‚ but only if they are functional throughout the crash. If the airbags deflate while a vehicle is rolling over‚ an occupant can be partially or completely ejected. Poor roof crush strength not only endangers the occupants while they are still in the vehicle‚ but can also break windows and cause doors to partially or completely detach. The doors themselves must also be attached properly so that they don’t open in a frontal crash.
Recovering from Injuries
A car crash that leads to ejection typically involves great force‚ and thus an ejection caused by such a strong impact can lead to very serious injuries‚ or‚ as is very common‚ death. The injuries an ejected vehicle occupant may suffer include:
- Broken vertebrae and/or other bones;
- Broken bones;
- Shattered bones;
- Fractured skull;
- Dislocated bones;
- Brain injury;
- Internal injury and bleeding;
- Lacerations; and/or
If a vehicle does not have a proper ejection mitigation system in place‚ car crash victims are threatened by an increased risk of ejection from the vehicle. Even if an ejection victim survives‚ he or she will suffer from great pain and have to potentially endure years of medical and rehabilitative treatment.
San Diego Vehicle Ejection Attorneys – The Help You Need
Car manufacturers have a duty to distribute and sell crash-tested‚ safe vehicles. Oftentimes‚ however‚ manufacturers market vehicles that look good‚ have good safety specifications‚ but really don’t provide adequate protection in the event of a crash. If you have been ejected and injured from such a vehicle‚ you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact the experienced passenger ejection lawyers in San Diego at the Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers at (888) 233-5020 to learn more about your legal rights and options.