Many Americans drive their cars daily and depend on these vehicles to safely and reliably get them from place to place. Being an astute and defensive driver is an important step toward thwarting potential accidents even when encountering negligent drivers. However, a fault in the design or manufacturing of a car can be a detrimental and uncontrollable factor in an accident.
We’ve all read about the massive recalls recently announced by Toyota, Lexus, Ford, Volvo, Cadillac and many other well know car manufacturers. Auto design flaws and manufacturing defects range from malfunctioning door locks to failing seatbelts and even faulty brakes or pedals. Your door not properly working can be annoying, and perhaps expensive. However, critical defects in safety or control features can lead to collisions or severely worsen the effects of an accident. In these incidents passengers can experience serious neck and back injuries, broken limbs, head injuries, permanent scarring and even death.
Over the years auto manufacturers have been forced to recall millions of vehicles and component parts because of defective design or manufacturing. However, before a flaw is realized and corrected, passengers and drivers may encounter serious injury due to faulty component parts of their automobiles.
Defective Automobile Design
Defective auto design differs from a manufacturing defect in that the part or product is built or produced without errors. Instead, the flaw was inherent to the design of the product not with the physical production of it.
To determine defective auto design, a court may look to see if the particular feature in question was unreasonably dangerous in its blueprint or original design. If so, the court often considers if it was reasonably foreseeable that the design could harm the driver or its occupants. It is important to know your rights as the law regarding the liability of the manufacturer differs from state to state.
Most states require proof that the designer failed to follow higher safety standards or could have used a better, available design. All cases are unique however, and call for the expertise of a legal professional.
In any case involving potential manufacturing culpability, consult an auto design defect attorney to best understand the legal options available to you and the potential outcomes for your case.
If an error in assembly results in an auto defect, the manufacturer can be held liable for injuries which result from the defect.
The driver must demonstrate that they themselves are not at fault in any way. For example, if a brake system is suspected of malfunctioning due to a manufacturing defect, the plaintiff would have to demonstrate not only that the defect was present from the time the vehicle went through the manufacturer’s assembly process, but also that he or she properly used the brakes in the referenced situation. Essentially, the plaintiff must show that the accident would not have occurred if it wasn’t for the faulty part.
Often in these cases, a vehicle is so badly damaged that it cannot be evaluated for malfunctions. Many courts institute a legal inference called the “malfunction doctrine” which allows a victim or plaintiff to show that the accident must have been caused by a defect. Under the malfunction doctrine, the plaintiff must rule out any other possible cause for the court to permit the jury to infer that a flaw existed at the time of the car’s sale and caused the injury.
Responsible parties can be difficult to identify and hold liable in these cases. It is essential that an injury victim consult with an experienced auto manufacturing defect lawyer to learn about their rights.
Examples of Auto Defects and Injuries
Airbags: An airbag that deploys too late or not at all or even opens when an accident has not occurred can result in severe whiplash, spinal injuries, facial lacerations, chest and neck injuries.
Seat belts: Seat belts that fail to properly restrain an occupant or come unfastened during an accident can cause abdominal, head, neck, shoulder and leg injuries.
Tires: Tires that deflate unexpectedly or explode can cause a vehicle to spin out of control, rollover or impact with other objects or vehicles resulting in injury.
What to Do After an Accident
After an accident, it is vital that the vehicle be retained and not be repaired until it has been inspected by an expert in auto design defect or manufacturing defects. If the vehicle had been serviced within a short time of the accident, those service or maintenance records will need to be obtained.
It is also important to contact an auto accident attorney who can inform you of your rights and legal options and to advise you on how best to pursue compensation for your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a recent auto accident which appears to have been caused by a manufacturing or design defect we want to hear your story. Our experienced litigation attorneys will review the facts and assist you with your case from beginning to end. We know how to investigate and aggressively pursue automotive accident cases.