Unobtrusively, but with increasing frequency, the courts are rejecting a theory of liability being vigorously advanced by some members of the plaintiffs' bar with the apparent intent of opening up a vast new source of contingent fee income. The theory, variously labelled as "crashworthiness" or the "second collision" doctrine seeks to impose common-law liability upon the automobile industry for injurious consequences- of automobile collisions despite the fact that no defect or mal- function in the vehicle causes the mishap.
Michael Hoenig and Stephen J. Werber,
Automobile Crashworthiness: An Untenable Doctrine,
20 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol20/iss3/16