Defective Cars: Does Product Liability Apply in an Accident?
You rely on your car to get you from one place to another; it is supposed to be safe. Perhaps you have it serviced regularly. But, all it takes is one faulty component to lead to fatal car accidents. And, these defects may not be something a mechanic sees during your usual oil change and inspection. If you are in an automobile accident because of a defective vehicle, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer or parts manufacturer.
Product Liability and Vehicle Manufacturing
There are typically two types of product liability claims you can file with a defective vehicle, which include:
- Defective Vehicles or Parts - This type of product liability involves the vehicle as a whole or parts that were not manufactured properly. This could be because of an error, shipping damage, or something that occurred at the dealership.
- Dangerous Design - This involves a defective vehicle that was properly manufactured, but featured a dangerous design. These types of cases involve products that have been on the market for some time before the dangerous design or defect are discovered such as tires that blowout after 10,000 miles or SUVs that are prone to rolling over.
Who is at Fault in a Defective Car Case?
It is not always the manufacturer at fault for your defective vehicle. While more often than not the manufacturer played some role, there may be other parties who are also liable for the damages caused by the defect. Your attorney will need to follow the chain of distribution, which will help him or her determine how many defendants will be named in the suit. Some of the parties that could be held liable include:
- Manufacturer - The manufacturer plays a large role in the production of your vehicle and because they are a large company, they may have more money to give toward the damages than other parties. But, remember that if you name the manufacturer, you will want a highly skilled attorney to go up against the team of lawyers most likely representing the defendant.
- Parts - The manufacturer does not usually manufacture all of the parts; instead, they purchase those from a third party. For example, tires and car batteries may be purchased from a third party supplier. If they are the defective components, then you will need to sue the parts manufacturer. If the manufacturer used these parts, however, you can still name the manufacturer in the suit. But, if they were purchased as a replacement part, you can only sue the third party responsible.
- Dealership - If the dealership sold the vehicle knowingthere was a defect, such as something they discovered during an in-house safety check, they could be held liable. This is especially true if you purchased the vehicle through a used car dealer, who regularly inspects vehicles before putting them back on the lot for sale.
- Auto Repair Shop - If your vehicle was inspected by an auto repair shop or the auto repair shop performed an unsafe repair to your vehicle, they may be held liable for the defective components.
Is it a Car Accident Claim or Product Liability?
If the defective vehicle was involved in an accident, you could have a traffic claim as well as a product liability claim. You could have a claim against the manufacturer as well as the negligent driver. For example, another driver caused the accident, but your defective vehicle's airbags did not deploy, leading to serious injury. The negligent driver is responsible for causing the crash, but the manufacturer is responsible for the faulty airbags. Read: New Hampshire Auto Accidents by the Numbers
Hire an Attorney for Your Car Accident Claim
Proving product liability in a car accident is not easy. You have to prove the manufacturer knew about the defective components or that the other company knowingly sold defective parts. The team of car accident attorney at Lucas Law can help you with your car accident case. Contact us today by calling 603-581-7102 for a free consultation. Related Posts :