Car Defects that Cause Severe Injuries
Unfortunately, catastrophic injuries are a relatively common occurrence in any motor vehicle accident. However, car defects that are caused by the manufacturer or dealership often pose an even greater danger to drivers and passengers in the event of a collision. Some defective products in automobiles can be the cause of an accident, while others may exacerbate the injuries suffered by those inside the car. Improperly functioning safety equipment, such as seatbelts or airbags, can result in severe injuries, even in minor accidents.
If you have been involved in a collision, it is imperative that you contact an attorney in your area who can effectively evaluate your case. It may not be readily apparent that a car defect is to blame for your accident or injuries. Experienced legal professionals will ensure that your case is properly investigated and any factors that may have contributed to your injuries are identified.
Strict Liability Claims
Depending on the nature of the car defect, you may be able to bring a claim on the basis of strict liability. This type of claim differs from those based on negligence, as the plaintiff does not need to prove that there was a reckless disregard for others’ safety. The theory of strict liability was developed for these types of product liability cases because it can be extremely expensive and difficult to prove that a manufacturer was negligent.
Many legal professionals have dedicated their careers to fighting against manufacturers who make products that do not meet a minimum standard of care.
In order to successfully bring a strict liability claim in an auto defect case, the plaintiff must show that the vehicle or one of its features had an unreasonably dangerous defect that caused an injury. Additionally, the claimant must prove that the injury occurred while using the vehicle as it was intended to be used, and that it had not been substantially altered from the condition in which it was originally purchased.
Appropriately meeting all of these conditions can be a daunting task without the help of a qualified attorney. Many legal professionals have dedicated their careers to fighting against manufacturers who make products that do not meet a minimum standard of care.
Breach of Warranty
Some plaintiffs can also file claims based on a breach of express or implied warranty. Many vehicles and car parts come with a written warranty, and the presence of a defect is a breach of that warranty. Even if your vehicle did not come with a written manufacturer’s warranty, many states have certain minimum standards that must be met in order to sell cars.
An experienced auto defects lawyer can examine your case and help you establish a breach of warranty as it relates to your injury. Because of the complex nature of these types of lawsuits, this can be a difficult task to meet without the help of a qualified legal professional.
Common Defenses to Car Defect Claims
Car manufacturers and dealerships do not just accept liability in defective products cases. Commonly, they will argue that the plaintiff’s negligent driving or lack of proper maintenance caused the injury, rather than the defect itself. It is also typical for manufacturers to argue that the plaintiff was aware of the defect for some time, and instead of addressing the issue, continued to operate the vehicle.
Attorneys for the manufacturer may also argue that the injury in question was caused by another vehicle, road conditions, or other external forces that would relieve them of liability for your injuries. Experienced lawyers can help to fight against these types of allegations and establish liability for your injuries on the unreasonably dangerous defect.
Types of Car Defects
Although almost any vehicle or auto part can be defective because of a design or manufacturing flaw, there are several common areas of focus in defective auto parts cases.
The term crashworthiness refers to the ability of the vehicle to protect its occupants in the event of a collision. There are certain safety features that have been standard in cars for many years. If these safety features fail in the event of an accident, the driver and any passengers may suffer severe injuries as a result. Crashworthiness defects may include:
Over the last two decades, there have been a number of vehicle types that, for various reasons, have had a high risk of fire. Defective components in the electrical system or fuel lines have been identified in multiple vehicles.
Like other car defects, defective tires are the result of a flaw in the design or manufacturing process. There have been many different defects associated with tires, including issues with tread separation and failure to grip the road.
Faulty ignition switches have caused many accidents. In a recent case, General Motors recalled over 800,000 vehicles because of a defect that could shut off the car’s engine and prevent the airbags from deploying in the event of a collision.
Passenger vans are very common on our roadways and are frequently employed by schools, churches, and other community organizations to transport children. Unfortunately, there are a number of design flaws that may be causing accidents or contributing to the resulting injuries.
Pursuing Compensation for Car Defects
Victims who are injured because of a defective car part have the right to pursue compensation. Claims are commonly filed for physical costs, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and car repairs, in addition to damages that are not easily defined monetarily, such as pain and suffering. An experienced attorney can help you accurately determine the current and future costs of your injuries so that you can pursue the appropriate amount.
These damages are intended to punish the car manufacturers and incentivize companies to fix defects that are inherent in their products.
More recently, punitive damages have become increasingly commonplace in auto defect cases. These damages are intended to punish the car manufacturers and incentivize companies to fix defects that are inherent in their products. Punitive damage awards can range into the tens of millions of dollars in some cases, and may act as a further deterrent against design defects.
Car manufacturers commonly calculate the cost of correcting a defect and compare it to the potential costs of litigation and settlements. When punitive damages are added into that equation, it becomes more cost-effective for the manufacturers to produce safer cars.
Contact a Car Defect Attorney
If you have been involved in a car accident that was caused by a defective product, please contact an experienced attorney in your area today. An experienced legal professional can evaluate your claim and help you determine the most appropriate course of action.