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The Crashworthiness Doctrine in Florida

car crashIf you have been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another party, it is important to speak to a seasoned Miami injury attorney who can help you seek the compensation you deserve for your harm. We can thoroughly scrutinize the facts of your case and provide you with an honest assessment of your claim.

The crashworthiness doctrine is a legal theory under which an automobile manufacturer may be liable through either negligence or strict liability for injuries a plaintiff sustained in an accident in which a manufacturing or design defect caused or enhanced their injuries. It is important to note that the crashworthiness doctrine essentially says that the manufacturing or design defect caused additional harm in an accident, although those defects did not cause the initial accident itself.

The term “crashworthiness” refers to how a car’s design reacts to an accident. Since collisions are reasonably foreseeable in the life of a vehicle, manufacturers are obligated to make vehicles that can withstand the rigors of “reasonable use.” Put another way, automotive manufacturers have a duty to create vehicles that can endure a crash as safely as possible. For example, a windshield glass that is not shatterproof may spray glass all over the passengers of a car, causing serious injuries.

Consider the following example. Vehicle A hits vehicle B in a head-on collision. The driver of vehicle B sustains a serious head injury that wouldn’t have occurred if the airbag had deployed. In such a scenario, it could be argued that the victim sustained injuries that were far worse than what he or she would have sustained if the airbag had worked properly. As a result, the manufacturer could be liable for the enhanced injury under a theory of negligence or strict liability.

In negligence cases, the plaintiff must establish certain elements by a preponderance of the evidence. The manufacturer must have owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the manufacturer must have breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff must have suffered an injury as a direct consequence of the manufacturer’s breach. Strict liability claims, on the other hand, do not require a plaintiff to prove negligence on the part of the manufacturer. Instead, the plaintiff simply needs to establish that the dangerous or defective product caused the injury.

Personal injury claims in Florida must be filed within a certain time frame, known as the statute of limitations. Under Florida law, an injured victim has four years to file a claim from the date of the accident. Failing to file within this time frame could mean losing your right to compensation altogether.

If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, it is important to seek the help of a skilled Miami product liability attorney who can examine the facts of your case. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we are well versed in all types of personal injury law and can apply our knowledge to your case. We proudly assist clients across South Florida. For more information about your case, feel free to call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or reach out to us online today.

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