Being ejected from the car in an accident greatly increases occupants’ risk of injury and fatality. In fact, about 14 percent of all fatally injured car accident victims are ejected, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The NHTSA investigated fatal car accidents over a five-year period and reviewed information about nearly 400,000 occupants, specifically looking at the causes and factors surrounding occupant ejection in auto accidents. The agency published its findings in a technical report, Factors Related to the Likelihood Of a Passenger Vehicle Occupant Being Ejected in a Fatal Crash. Below, we discuss some of the findings.
Risk Factors of Occupant Ejection
There are numerous factors that can contribute to increased risk of occupant ejection in car accidents, the most significant of which is the use of seat belts. Of all the occupants ejected, 86 percent are unrestrained. Below are a few other risk factors the NHTSA highlighted.
- Age of vehicle: Occupants of newer-model cars (post-1998) have less risk of ejection, perhaps because of increased seatbelt usage.
- Speed: The higher the speed at the time of the impact, the greater the risk of ejection. “The percentage of occupants who were ejected was roughly twice as high when the speed limit was 60 mph or higher (18.6%) versus when the speed limit was 40 mph or less (9.6%). When the road had ‘no statutory limit,’ the percentage of occupants who were ejected was highest, at 23.5 percent,” according to the NHTSA.
- Type of vehicle: The danger of being ejected is highest in an SUV (nearly half of all unrestrained victims in an SUV accident were ejected), followed by pickup trucks (38 percent), vans (32 percent) and passenger cars (29 percent)
But aside from reviewing risk factors, victims of car accidents who were ejected from the vehicle should determine the cause of the accident and their ejection if they wish to pursue a claim for damages.
Causes of Ejection Car Accidents
Below are a few potential causes of occupants being ejected in an auto accident.
- Faulty seatbelts that unlatch
- Defective door latches that open during the accident
- Weak glass on the windows that shatter too easily (lack of glass integrity increases risk of breaking, allowing room for the occupants to be ejected)
Determining and establishing the cause of the ejection is important when pursuing compensation for injuries. Injuries in these accidents can be severe and may warrant pursuing long-term damages.
Types of injuries common among ejected car accident victims are below.
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage and internal bleeding
Injured Victims May Be Able to File a Claim for Damages
When negligence is the cause of an occupant ejection accident, the victims (or their family) may be able to sue the responsible party. If the victim survived the crash, he or she can file an injury claim for recovery if a lawyer can prove that another party’s negligence caused or contributed to the accident or the ejection.
A car manufacturer, meanwhile, may be strictly liable if a problem with the vehicle is to blame for the ejection — this means the claimant does not have to establish negligence, only that the defect caused or contributed to the accident and injuries.
If your loved one was killed when he or she was ejected in a car accident, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for your financial and emotional losses. Contact an attorney to discuss how to go about that legal process.
Consult a Car Accident Lawyer in Olympia, Wash.
To discuss your occupant ejection accident with an attorney in Olympia, contact the attorneys at Ron Meyers & Associates PLLC today for a free consultation at 844-920-2438.