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Vehicle Submersion and Escapeworthiness - Do I Have a Lawsuit?

Rasansky Law Firm - Office

February 12, 2014

Previously published on February 11, 2014

Were you aware that a vehicle manufacturer may be held liable for their portion of responsibility in a car accident? Over the past 50 years, vehicles have gotten WAY safer than they used to be. Why? Because car manufacturers are being held responsible for the products they put out.

Vehicle submersion usually occurs so quickly that in most cases, occupants only have 1 minute to save themselves by exiting of the vehicle one way or another.

Escapeworthiness refers to the ease with which car occupants are able to get out of a quickly sinking car, escaping death via drowning. Most car manufacturers do not pay enough attention to this quality, and as a result, can find themselves partially liable for fatalities caused by these kinds of accidents.

Most cars usually have windows made of tempered glass which makes them hard to break. At the same time, electric door latches or power windows may fail when wet, essentially locking the occupants in the vehicle.

Of course it's always a good idea to take precautions, but vehicle submersion is not always at the top of a driver's mind. In fact, since you're reading this now, I ask you to use this opportunity to go put a small hammer in your glove compartment (in order to help break the side window glass in the event of a water accident).

You may find that the outside pressure will prevent you from opening the door. If this happens, you may try sinking with the car, and then opening the door. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as they make it look in the movies. When you've crashed into a body of water, you have precious little time. Do not call 911. Act quick! If you have power windows, immediately try rolling them down and crawling out. The best chance you have at escaping your vehicle is by getting out a window.

Vehicle manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their vehicles are escape-worthy by correctly installing sensors and protecting mechanisms which help open windows from water-based malfunction. At the same time, there are many other preventative measures the vehicle manufacturer can take.

If you've lost a loved one in a vehicle submersion accident, your family may be able to hold the negligent manufacturer liable. We can help your family recover money and help prevent these accidents in the future by filing a product liability claim or lawsuit.


The views expressed in this document are solely the views of the author and not Martindale-Hubbell. This document is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.

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