Litigation Support ServicesHORK Enterprises has participated in the successful defense of vehicle manufacturers in frontal impact, side impact, and roll-over product liability litigation cases.
Vehicle crashes are chaotic events, often resulting in serious injuries, despite the protective systems. It is not always clear that the restraint system functioned in optimal fashion, especially when the algorithm of an advanced airbag system determines airbag deployment is not warranted. We have been closely involved in the development of advanced restraint systems and can explain the regulatory requirements and functional limitations of these systems. Our research and participation in litigation cases has resulted in positive results in these and other cases:
- A roll-over case in which the passenger sustained a debilitating neck injury. Our contra-expertise showed that the neck injury was sustained due to the occupant being ejected from the vehicle, rather than from contacts inside the vehicle.
- A side impact with a pole that did not trigger the side airbag to deploy. Our research showed that the rearward angle of the impact is an extremely rare occurrence. Accounting for such a rare case would have a detrimental effect on the robustness of the system and its functioning under more common accident scenarios. Moreover, a torso side airbag has limited potential to mitigate head injuries.
- A compound crash in which the driver airbag did not deploy, despite the damage to the vehicle indicating a very severe impact. Our analysis showed that a period of low deceleration preceded the impact. That had put the unbelted occupant on top of the steering wheel. For such circumstances research shows it is generally better for the occupant to ride down the energy absorbing steering system than to deploy the airbag.