Auto accidents occur every day. Manufacturers have a duty to take reasonable steps in designing and building cars to guard against unnecessary injuries from those crashes. These are sometimes called second impact cases. The human body is not designed by nature to travel at 30 miles per hour or more. In a crash occupants will be thrown about the vehicle interior with great force often leading to serious injury or death. Many of these injuries can be prevented by safe design and manufacturing.

The cage surrounding the passengers is the zone of safety that must be protected. The first line of defense is to minimize any intrusion or deformation of the zone of safety to protect passengers. Energy absorbing crush zones, roof collapse prevention, side impact barriers, materials considerations and avoiding projectiles are necessary parts of the design engineers tools to create a safe car. The next defense is the occupant restraint system. This includes seatbelts, three point belts, and airbags but also head restraints, door latches and occupant containment to prevent ejection from the collision forces or secondary impacts. Finally, the ergonomic (human friendly) design of the vehicle interior to minimize impact injuries is crucial. Collapsible steering columns, seat design, projecting accessories and interior contours can all play a part in making the difference between a passenger walking away from a collision, facing a catastrophic injury or even death.

Representing clients in auto design cases is legally and technically challenging. Most of these cases require the use of experts in accident reconstruction, biomechanical engineering, car and component design and manufacture, human factors and other specialties. The early and thorough investigation and inspection of the accident scene, vehicles, and the other evidence available is extremely important to success. We have successfully brought court cases against most of the major auto manufacturers including General Motors, Daimler Chrysler, Ford, and Toyota obtaining multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for clients.