Our auto accident attorneys in Beaufort have discussed on our website a number of the most common causes of traffic collisions in South Carolina, including drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding and reckless driving. However, vehicle defects and poor design are also important factors in some auto accidents.
According to a recent report by Forbes magazine, your injury risks can be influenced by your choice of vehicles. In recent years, safety features have become more advanced and more prevalent (for instance, many new vehicles have as many as 10 airbags spread throughout the cabin). Still, information from the Highway Loss Data Institute for 2014-2016 model years shows frequency of medical payment claims follow the general laws of physics: occupants of smaller and lighter vehicles are more often injured.
Occupants of Smaller Vehicles at Higher Risk
The continued rise and popularity of SUVs and trucks is a mixed blessing. Larger and heavier vehicles tend to offer more protection for passengers. But they also tend to cause more damage and injuries to occupants of smaller passenger vehicles.
Surprisingly, however, sports cars (for which most insurance companies charge a hefty premium) proved to be safest. Researchers point to the fact that such cars are frequently driven fewer miles with just a single passenger.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides claim loss information for all makes and models for those who want to do their research before making a purchase.
Vehicle Defects and Accident Risks in South Carolina
Regardless of your choice of vehicle, recall notices and production defects are something that every motorist should be aware of. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's safety issues and recalls website allows a vehicle owner to enter their vehicle's information into the federal database to determine whether it's subject to recall or experiencing safety issues.
Sometimes recalls and defects impact safety features, such as the massive Takata airbag recall, which affects some 50 million airbags in 37 million vehicles. In other cases, tires, brakes and driver controls are affected. Many will recall the issue with sticking accelerator pedals on Toyotas, which was blamed for numerous accidents and deaths several years ago.
Under South Carolina law S.C. Code 15-73-10, sellers of defective products can be held responsible for resulting injuries. The law states anyone who sells a product in a defective, dangerous condition is liable for physical harm caused to the consumer if a number of conditions are met. However, it also bars recovery in situations where a consumer was aware of the dangers and nevertheless continued to make unreasonable use of the product.
In some cases, a vehicle defect may be the cause of a crash. However, in many auto accidents, a defect might be only one contributing cause. These tend to be complex cases and are best handled by a South Carolina law firm experienced in auto accidents.