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There are many different reasons that car accidents happen. Some of them have to do with a motorist’s negligence, while others result from car manufacturers’ lack of care when designing, testing, manufacturing, and marketing motor vehicles and motor vehicle components. Just as you can seek compensation from a distracted or otherwise careless driver after an accident, you can seek compensation from a car company for designing, manufacturing, or marketing a vehicle with inadequate crashworthiness. The rules that apply to establishing your right to compensation in a product liability claim are often different from the rules in a negligence action. Also, you can include a claim against a car manufacturer in the same action against the driver who caused your injuries. At the Law Offices of Matt Uhrig, our Columbia car accident lawyer has experience handling complex claims involving crashworthiness issues.


The term crashworthiness is used to refer to a vehicle’s ability to withstand crashes and collisions, particularly when it comes to protecting the occupants. If a car is deemed crashworthy, the likelihood of injury or death for the vehicle’s occupants is relatively low. Since this is such a strong concern for many consumers, vehicle manufacturers tend to test the crashworthiness of vehicles before they sell them. There are many different criteria that go into determining crashworthiness, including the likelihood that the vehicle will roll over, the ability of the airbags to protect occupants, and the effectiveness of the seatbelts. The tests also examine how effectively the vehicle distributes the force of a collision throughout the vehicle instead of allowing an isolated impact.


In a lawsuit involving a crashworthiness claim, a vehicle manufacturer can be held liable if the plaintiff can show that some aspect of the vehicle’s design or manufacturing exacerbated their injuries. This claim is often asserted in addition to a claim against another motorist who caused the collision to occur. The plaintiff is not asserting that the auto maker was the only cause of their injuries. Instead, they are alleging that the vehicle was not crashworthy and that their injuries were made substantially worse as a result.

To recover compensation from the car manufacturer, your lawyer will need to show that it failed to design the vehicle in a manner that was safe for its reasonably foreseeable use. Because of the high rate of car accidents, automakers must design cars with the possibility that they will be involved in a crash in mind. They must also take common types of car accidents into consideration when designing the vehicle, such as rear-end collisions and side-impact accidents. In other words, you will need to prove that the manufacturer failed to design the car in a reasonably safe manner, or the specific vehicle that you purchased suffered from a defect in the manufacturing process that rendered it unsafe for its foreseeable use.

After establishing this element, you will need to show that the manufacturer’s failure to design or manufacture the car in a safe manner was a cause of your exacerbated injuries. This can be complicated, especially if your injuries are severe or if the crash was especially devastating, such as a head-on collision. In many cases, it is necessary to retain a car accident reconstructionist expert to explain which aspects of your injuries resulted from the initial impact and which resulted from the vehicle’s lack of crashworthiness.


Although we trust carmakers to take thorough measures to ensure that the vehicles that they sell us are safe, there are some instances in which they take shortcuts in an attempt to save money or other resources. If you were injured in a car accident, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of your vehicle. A crashworthiness claim can be complicated, especially when it comes to apportioning liability between the at-fault driver and the manufacturer. Attorney Matt Uhrig provides knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate legal counsel to car accident victims throughout Missouri. He is knowledgeable in the substantive and procedural rules that will govern your right to recover compensation. He proudly serves people in Columbia, Jefferson City, Ashland, and other Missouri cities. Call us now at 1-877-657-2050 or contact us online to set up your free consultation today.

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