Car Accident Ejections
Written By Mark Atlee
Vehicles should be equipped with safety measures that prevent or reduce the risk that a driver or passenger may be ejected from a vehicle when an accident occurs, especially when the vehicle rolls over. These safety measures include proper passenger restraints; airbags, including curtain airbags along the doors and windows; roofs; and windows that prevent ejection. This is particularly important because, in the case of a driver/passenger ejection, the injuries are often catastrophic, leading to severe fractures, paralysis, brain injuries, and death.
The causes of a car accident ejection of a vehicle occupant vary widely but generally all should be avoidable if the vehicle manufacturer employs proper design and manufacturing safety principles. The most common causes of car accident ejections include: (1) rollovers, especially SUVs, which are more prone to rolling over; (2) improper seat design, resulting in seatback collapse, which allows the individual to get out from under the seat belt; (3) airbag failure, especially front and side airbag deployment, or early deflation following inflation; and (4) seatbelt failure, which results in pre-tensioners not firing and not adequately securing the individual. When these defects are present, car accident ejections are more likely to occur, and catastrophic injuries usually result.
These cases can be complex and require experienced lawyers to conduct a thorough investigation to determine if the car accident ejection was the result of a design or manufacturing defect. The first, and most important step, is to secure the vehicle and have it safely stored. Atlee Hall has a facility where we are able to store and secure vehicles that are under investigation. The next step is to collect information, photos, and video footage of the roadway, as well as statements of witnesses to the accident, so that we can use this information in formulating an accident reconstruction as close in time to the accident as possible. We engage experts to inspect the vehicle to determine what happened at the time of the accident, including securing information from the vehicle’s “black box” if it has one. This information allows an engineering expert to determine if a defect existed and if it was the cause of the car accident ejection.
Armed with this information, we are then able to pursue a case against the vehicle manufacturer and hold the company responsible for causing catastrophic injuries. Once a lawsuit is initiated, we gather additional evidence to establish that the vehicle’s defect caused it to be unsafe for its intended and expected use, did not fulfill the expectations of the ordinary consumer, and its risks outweighed its benefits.
Through the legal process, the lawyers at Atlee Hall hold manufacturers accountable for their unsafe manufacture or designs, or their choices to not include known and available safety features on vehicles in an effort to obtain profits over safety, while at the same time providing justice to our clients for the catastrophic injuries resulting from a car accident ejection.