In some auto accident cases, the responsible party may not be the driver of the vehicle or another motorist. Vehicle defects can cause catastrophic accidents, leading to serious injuries and in some cases death.
Ideally, motorists will learn about defects in their vehicle and can get them addressed or fixed before a tragic accident occurs. Unfortunately, dangerous vehicle defects may not become present or immediately recognizable to motorists and manufacturers alike until a series of serious accidents occur that are results of the defect.
When a defective vehicle component causes a person’s injury, they can pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer. A product liability claim can help an injured victim recover compensation from a vehicle manufacturer for producing a vehicle with defects that caused the victim’s injuries. Defects can occur in the design, manufacturing, or shipping process of the vehicle.
Examples of common vehicle defects include:
Vehicle defect cases are not treated exactly the same as personal injury claims. In personal injury claims, plaintiffs generally have to prove that the at-fault party’s negligent or careless actions caused the accident that resulted in the sustained injuries. Product liability cases, such as vehicle defect cases, adhere to the strict liability doctrine, which does not require the plaintiff to prove that the vehicle manufacturer acted careless in the manufacturing of the vehicle.
In order to bring a product liability claim against a vehicle manufacturer, an injured plaintiff will have to prove that:
An important note regarding defective vehicle claims is that you may be precluded from claiming strict liability if you were previously aware of the defect (such as through a vehicle recall notice) and continued to operate your vehicle without getting the defect fixed.
Vehicle manufacturers conduct safety tests on every vehicle they produce. It is the duty of manufacturers to produce vehicles that can protect motorists and their passengers in the event of a collision, which is a reasonably possible occurrence in the routine operation of a vehicle. Many injuries from auto accidents are unavoidable, but a vehicle should contain safety features and functions that work to minimize injuries and prevent the vehicle from causing additional harm to occupants when a crash occurs.
Seat belts, airbags, and the vehicle’s safety cage are all features that determine a vehicle’s crashworthiness. These safety systems work in unison to provide protection for occupants throughout the entirety of an accident, no matter where the impact occurs on the vehicle. A crashworthy vehicle minimizes crush inside the vehicle, provides occupant restraint, prevents ejection from the vehicle, and distributes and dissipates the force of a crash. Manufacturers have a duty to produce vehicles that will protect its occupants and can be held liable if their vehicle design fails to do so.
Product liability claims involving vehicle crashworthiness can be difficult to prove and oftentimes require the help of several automobile safety and crash experts, vehicle design experts, and other expert witnesses. Thomas J. Henry has a proven track record of handling vehicle defect cases, and we retain only the best expert witnesses from across the United States to provide expert testimony for our clients’ cases.
In recent years, the United States has experienced several large scale vehicle recalls due to defects that proved to be deadly time and time again. In 2016 alone, the total number of recall campaigns reached a record-breaking 927. Here are three of the largest recalls that have been issued in recent years in the United States:
If you were injured due to a defective vehicle, call Thomas J. Henry today. We understand how daunting of a task it is to take on a large vehicle manufacturing corporation, but we have experience doing so. Our firm lead the charge against GM during their ignition switch recall, representing many clients who sustained serious injuries in accidents involving their defective vehicles. Our lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call and evaluate your claim. Contact us today for a free case review.