When Your Vehicle Fails to Keep You Safe

Ford Motor Company recently recalled over 700,000 vehicles because of a potentially dangerous defect in the vehicles’ Restraint Control Module. The defect may cause the vehicles’ seatbelt pretensioners and airbags not to work during a motor vehicle collision.  Pretensioners and airbags are two of a vehicle’s most important safety features.

The recalled models are:

(1) Ford C-Max vehicles manufactured January 19, 2012, to November 21, 2013;

(2) Ford Fusion vehicles manufactured February 3, 2012, to August 24, 2013;

(3) Ford Escape vehicles manufactured October 5, 2011, to November 1, 2013;

(4) Lincoln MKZ vehicles manufactured April 25, 2012, to September 30, 2013

Unfortunately, when a vehicle’s safety devices fail, an occupant can suffer injuries more severe than what the collision alone would have produced. In Georgia, when a vehicle’s safety devices malfunction and a vehicle occupant is injured more severely than he or she otherwise would have been, the vehicle is not “crashworthy.”  Ford Motor Co. v. Reese, 300 Ga. App. 82 (2009).

Crashworthiness is a legal concept where the law recognizes that motor vehicle collisions are foreseeable. Therefore, automotive manufactures have a duty to build cars that will keep occupants reasonably safe. Ford Motor Co. v. Hanley, 128 Ga. App. 311 (1973).  The basic rule is this: if the crash does not kill you, your car should not either.

Vehicles that are not crashworthy are defective because they are not “merchantable and reasonably suited to the use intended.” O.C.G.A. § 51-1-11. In other words, when an automotive manufacturer designs a vehicle in a way that may potentially cause the safety devices not to work, the manufacturer is responsible for any injury those defects cause.

The attorneys at Butler Tobin have represented many people injured by unsafe and defective vehicles.

No one should have to worry about whether their vehicle’s seat belt or airbags will work in a collision. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision, contact our attorneys for a free consultation. Or call us at (404) JUSTICE = (404) 587-8423.

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