Mike, a liability waiver--if included--might provide some protection for the producer of the aftermarket bumper.
But--what about the happy SMB owner driving behind that bumper?
Let's do a thought experiment, just for the sake of contemplating these things.
But before we do the thought experiment, I will relay a story that was recently passed on to me. It is part of what got me thinking about all of this:
Happy pickup truck driver driving down a two lane road in Oregon. Not speeding, not misbehaving. Said driver had previously done a 4WD conversion and quite a large lift. His bumper was no longer within the height range dictated by federal safety standards.
Woman driving a small sedan coming from the other direction. She gets distracted, and swings into the opposite lane of traffic, just as happy pickup truck driver happens to be driving that stretch of road. Her car goes under the pickup truck's bumper, and the bumper takes out her windshield--and kills her.
Pickup driver had done nothing wrong, with respect to how he was driving. The other driver made the driving error--and paid for that error with her life.
However, the accident investigators concluded that if the pickup's bumper had been at the legally-mandated height, she would likely have survived the crash. Consequently, charges were filed against the pickup truck driver.
Back to the thought experiment:
Let's say that one of these cool new bumpers goes on a happy SMB owner's rig. Happy SMB owner signs a waiver, releasing the design/build team from any liability.
SMB is later in a driver's side front end collision, and the crumple zone does not work as originally designed. Instead of the motor and transmission being shoved down and back, they are shoved laterally, and end up crushing the legs of the occupant of the passenger seat.
The insurance company investigates, and determines that the aftermarket bumper prevented the crumple zone from working as designed. Coverage is denied. The not-so-happy SMB owner does not get their van replaced, and the occupant of the passenger seat is left with no medical coverage.
1. Could an aftermarket bumper negatively interfere with the van's crash response system, leading to a possibility of increased physical harm to the people involved in a crash?
2. Could an insurer deny coverage based on the owner installing an aftermarket bumper that negatively interfered with the van's crash response system?
3. How do we find the answers to these questions?