Common Factors in Fatal Crashes Involving Vehicle Ejections
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 20,175 people were involved in fatal car accidents in the first half of 2022, with over 100 people killed each day. A third of all fatalities resulted from being thrown from a vehicle.
Although they’re called accidents, there’s always a root cause for each collision. An attorney is beneficial in determining whose actions contributed to the crash, whether a driver or the manufacturer of malfunctioning seat belts, tires, brakes, or airbags.
Vehicle ejections may occur for several reasons, including:
- Defective seat belts. Seat belts are the most effective precaution when preventing vehicle ejections, but a defective buckle, tension detector, or other malfunction could render a seat belt useless. Without a working lap or shoulder restraint, the force of a crash can throw a passenger out of a vehicle, even at lower speeds.
- Speeding. The force of a vehicle traveling 50mph or more increases the risk of someone being wholly or partially thrown from the car at extreme velocity. Not only could speeding cause a crash, but it can also make it impossible for surrounding drivers to avoid running over someone who has been flung from a vehicle.
- Inadequate side windows. Windshields undergo rigorous design and testing to ensure their safety glass won’t shatter in a collision. However, vehicle manufacturers do not always adhere to the same standards for side windows. The weaker window glass may break off at the base or shatter in a side-impact crash, allowing the occupant to be thrown sideways out of the window.
- Rollovers. Rollover crashes cause severe bodily harm due to the number of impacts passengers suffer. Drivers are often thrown from the vehicle as it tumbles over the roadway, especially if the windows are open or a seat belt unexpectedly unbuckles.
- Broken door latches. Modern passenger cars are built to restrain and protect their occupants. Unfortunately, defective latches can cause doors to swing open after an impact, ejecting the nearest passenger. An open door can suddenly swing shut on a partially-ejected occupant, causing crush injuries or amputation.
Injuries a Victim May Suffer When Thrown from a Vehicle
According to NHTSA, three out of every four occupants ejected during a crash died from injuries. The most common causes of death include traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, many of which turn fatal in a matter of minutes. Other injuries from vehicle ejections became lethal in the hours after the crash, such as:
- Internal bleeding. Many passengers suffer broken ribs and trauma to their torso as they hit the ground or strike other vehicles before landing, causing organ damage and internal bleeding.
- Lacerations. An accident victim thrown through a windshield or window may suffer deep cuts from glass or sharp metal fragments from damaged bodywork.
- Limb injuries. Partial ejection can be just as deadly as leaving the vehicle altogether. If a victim’s arm or leg hangs outside the window during a rollover, they may succumb to blood loss due to crush injuries or limb amputation.
Call a Lexington Wrongful Death Lawyer to Learn Your Options
Losing a family member is a difficult and stressful time for relatives, and you need to be able to grieve in peace. However, you should never accept payment from an at-fault driver or manufacturer without speaking to an experienced car accident lawyer.
Your legal advocate at Gray and White Law handles your claim for compensation on a contingency fee basis, so you owe us nothing unless we recover for you. Contact us today at 1-888-450-4456 to tell us what happened in your free case consultation, or read through our complimentary guide, Critical Information to Know Before Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kentucky.