Car Accident Lawyer
Not all car accidents are the result of driver-related errors, negligence, or intentional wrongful conduct. Sometimes, the fault lies with the vehicle itself—whether in its design, manufacture, or maintenance. Importantly, for victims in accidents caused by vehicle defects, legal recourse does exist in the same way as it does for non-defect-related accidents.
Products liability law (rather than negligence or battery) applies to this area of car accidents and allows victims to rightfully seek compensation for medical bills, lost income due to missed work, pain and suffering, and the cost of vehicle repair or replacement. In some car accident cases the victim may also be awarded punitive damages. This occurs when the acts of the at-fault party were especially unacceptable, such as when the manufacturer knew about the defect but hid this information instead of addressing it.
With the aid of an experienced car accident lawyer, the existence of a defect can be proven and compensation sought for the subsequent consequences the victim suffered because of the defect.
Manufacturing Defects May Have Dire Consequences
Cars are complex machines, and with the nation’s roads and highways being lawfully traveled at speeds of up to 70 mph, injuries and property damage stemming from a vehicle defect-related accident can be severe.
One common type of defect is “unintended acceleration,” which affected Toyota vehicles made in or around 2009 and Audi vehicles in the 1980s. There is also the problem of tire separation, which, due to poor quality adhesives, caused tire treads to separate while the vehicle was being operated. When tire separation occurs on vehicles, the result can be improper maneuvering and accidents in which serious injuries resulted.
One of the biggest and still-ongoing recall is the Takata exploding airbag recall, which began in 2008. As of 2022, more than 67 million airbags have been recalled, with 11 million airbags still not replaced.
Other manufacturing-related defects include ignition fires and inadequate engine mounts. In each of the above scenarios, all parties in the chain of retail may be held liable for the accidents and resulting injuries caused by defects. The theory of this type of chain liability is that at each stage – design, manufacture, and retail – the parties seeking to profit from vehicle and component part sales had both the opportunity and duty to diligently and accurately inspect for dangerous defects. When this duty to safeguard consumers is abrogated, liability may be imposed.
The Existence of a Defect Must Be Proven
Unlike in accidents caused by a negligent driver, the process of establishing both defect and causation in an accident caused by a design or manufacturing defect requires the gathering and presentation of evidence. These cases are complex and require the legal expertise and skill of an experienced car accident lawyer.