Hybrid Car Accidents
As more people choose to drive hybrid cars and auto makers continue to make the switch to vehicles that are eco-friendly, no doubt hybrid car accidents will be on the rise. Electric and hybrid vehicles can be involved in an accident just as any other vehicle can - and the fact they are quiet may make accidents even more probable. Could there be more safety concerns than most people realize associated with hybrid cars? Those who are curious about the potential danger of hybrid vehicles may want to consider reaching out to Labrum Law (615) 338-9500.
Top Concerns of Consumers with Hybrid Cars
In 2012 a survey was conducted regarding the top concerns of consumers related to the safety of hybrid and electric cars according to Consumer Reports. While 77% of those surveyed said their biggest concern was limited range, other concerns included:
- 42% - Fire hazard while being charged
- 40% - Pedestrian safety
- 39% - Crash protection
- 35% - Fire following a crash
- 30% - Electric shock
- 29% - Accident avoidance
Hybrid cars are those that operate on both electrical engine power and liquid gas. Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Chevrolet, and Nissan are some of the best-known brands in hybrid vehicles currently.
Risk of Injury in Hybrid Car Accidents
Hybrid vehicles present some unique safety concerns when a collision takes place which can be attributed to their heavy electrical cables and batteries. When an accident occurs, some of the safety concerns include:
- Electric shock
- Malfunction of electronic or computer systems
The biggest concern with hybrid cars involved in accidents is electric shock, as these vehicles operate on high-voltage batteries. Compared to a conventional vehicle that operate on a 12-volt battery, hybrid and electric vehicles operate on batteries that range from 200 to 800 volts. As most could imagine, this much voltage is sufficient to deliver a deadly shock. Hybrid vehicles also weigh about 10% more than vehicles with combustion engines because of the batteries they operate on. In a car accident, hybrid cars are capable of causing more damage to conventional vehicles. This means that those involved in these accidents could suffer more serious injuries. Labrum Law is available for those with questions regarding hybrid car accidents.
What To Do in a Hybrid Car Crash
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends those who are involved in hybrid car accidents take the same action as they would take in any other car accident. Suggestions include:
- When assistance is necessary, call 911 and advise that a hybrid vehicle is involved
- Shock hazards may be present - avoid touching the engine compartment and exposed electrical components
- Avoid contact with fluids or gas that may be leaking
- Alert emergency responders that the car is a hybrid or electric vehicle
Fires are a top concern with hybrid and electric vehicles. When someone notices smoke, sparks, or flames coming from a hybrid vehicle, it is critical to exit the car right away. Avoid breathing in vapors, gas, and smoke being emitted as they may be dangerous. Those involved should distance themselves upwind of the vehicle fire.
Common Injuries in Hybrid Car Accidents
The injuries a person may suffer when involved in an accident with a hybrid or electric car are much the same as with those with a conventional vehicle. Some of the injuries often suffered in car accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and head injuries
- Amputation injuries
Pedestrians are at an increased risk of being injured by hybrid cars due to the fact they make so little noise compared to conventional vehicles. Hybrids make very little wind and tire noise when operating at slow speeds. When being driven in electric-only mode, there is no familiar engine noise as with conventional vehicles, which means a pedestrian may walk out in the street without realizing a car is coming. The same could occur if a pedestrian were to walk behind a hybrid car backing out of a driveway or parking spot. Anyone who suffers injury in a hybrid car accident should consider visiting with an experienced attorney.
Liability in Accidents Involving Hybrid Vehicles
Liability in hybrid car accidents is generally determined just the way a conventional car accident is. For example, the driver of a hybrid car may have been operating the vehicle in a way that was negligent and caused the crash, or vice versa. Driver negligence is the most common cause of car accident in the United States. A motorist may be distracted, driving recklessly, speeding, or driving under the influence.
In other circumstances it may be that a product defect caused an accident, which could be the result of a faulty manufacturing process or design. With hybrid and electric vehicles, the risk of fires is greater than with conventional vehicles, which could leave the manufacturer of the hybrid car responsible for injuries suffered in a car accident. There really are no differences between hybrid and conventional cars when it comes to accidents and liability.
Compensation for Car Accident Victims
Those in Tennessee who suffer injuries in a hybrid car accident that was not their fault are entitled to compensation. It is important to note that even if an injured victim was partially responsible (less than 50%), it may be possible to collect damages. Compensation is limited to costs directly related to a person's injuries and may include:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or mental anguish
- Punitive damages (actions of the responsible party were especially egregious)
Most insurance companies do not offer fair settlements. In some cases, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Consider Scheduling a Consultation with Labrum Law
Hybrid car accidents are like any other in terms of who is responsible when injuries occur to one or more people involved in the accident. Those who have suffered injuries in an accident involving a hybrid or electric car may want to consider scheduling a consultation with Labrum Law today at (615) 338-9500.