The sad truth for many Los Angelenos is that we spend a good part of our days on the road, stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. Perhaps it is the sheer number of cars on the road, or maybe we just are not the best drivers in the country, but auto accidents are common in Los Angeles. In fact, an LA Times article recently shared that while the number of people killed in traffic accidents dropped to its lowest point in over 60 years across the country, that number actually rose almost 3% in California.
Automobiles are practically a way of life in Los Angeles. Bigger cars keep you from being squashed like a bug on the 5 freeway but also makes it a near certainty that you won’t find a street parking spot that you can fit into in Venice Beach. So what is a Los Angeleno who needs a car to commute around the city to do? If you have safety in mind, a recent study says you might want to reconsider going the mini car route. In the safety test conducted by the IIHS, almost all of the smallest vehicles in the U.S. automotive market failed to get passing grades on a tough new crash test and only one mini-car out of 11 (the Chevy Spark) that were tested received an acceptable rating in the small-overlap front crash test.
Introduced two years ago, the small overlap test is intended to replicate what occurs when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a pole or tree. Safety experts say that when it comes to crashworthiness, lightweight vehicles have an inherent disadvantage.
In smaller vehicles where the intruding structure “seriously compromises the driver’s space”, the steering column is pushed back toward the driver. In crash tests, the dummy’s head barely contacts the front airbag before sliding off and hitting the instrument panel. If you or a loved one were injured in car accident involving a small car, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.
It’s not to say that all small cars are dangerous or defectively designed, per se. However, no matter the size of the automobile, every automaker has a responsibility to manufacture vehicles that provide basic levels of protection in the event of a crash. Safety features (such as airbags and seatbelts) must be in working condition and protect occupants effectively. Car seatbacks and roofs should be built strongly in order to prevent catastrophic injuries in the event of a crash. If you or a loved one were involved in a Los Angeles car accident where the automobile’s safety or other features did not work as designed, seek legal counsel.
If your loved one was killed as a result of poorly made vehicle, you may be able to file an auto product liability claim against the manufacturer of the vehicle and/or the defective parts on the victims behalf. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to advise you of your legal rights.
For more information on your ability to recover financial damages for auto accidents and other personal injuries, contact BIKLAW today.