While cars have become safer over time, with manufacturers designing, testing and adding new, life-saving features, there’s always the possibility for defects or mistakes to occur. Most recently, GM faced a massive recall of Chevy Bolt batteries over fire concerns. Also this summer, Ford recalled more than 16,000 F-150 SuperCab trucks with seat belt problems.
While Ford and GM’s issues seem to pertain to manufacturing defects, things can also go wrong in the design stage or during shipment. Depending on who is at fault, the automaker, third-party manufacturer, car dealership or others can be held liable for injuries caused by the defect. But how is liability determined?
Types of car defect cases
Large recalls typically begin as isolated incidents—real accidents where people are hurt or even killed by a defect. It takes time to link each accident to the same default, however. Often, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects complaints, links similar reports and opens up an investigation if needed. If they discover a defect, they then notify the manufacturer and monitor the resulting recall.
But a recall is in the interest of future consumer safety. For those who have already been hurt, a product liability lawyer helps prove that the defect existed in the first place. Unlike a personal injury case, where the attorney must establish fault, a product liability lawyer has to demonstrate that the vehicle had a defect, that it was otherwise being used properly and that it hadn’t been overly altered.
Car defect cases tend to break down into several primary areas:
- Design issues: If the manufacturer knew there was a risky element to the design, there could be a liability case.
- Manufacturing issues: If the manufacturer made the vehicle or any of its components incorrectly, there could be a car defect case.
- Transportation problems: If the car was not handled properly during transport, the company tasked with moving the car to the dealership could be liable.
- Dealership: If the dealership didn’t properly examine the vehicle and missed an obvious fault, they could be held liable for a crash.
- Crashworthiness: If an accident occurred for any reason but some element of the car contributed to its severity, there could be a defect case against the automaker for the car’s poor crashworthiness.
In some cases, an individual may also have a personal injury suit against another at-fault driver. An attorney can help advise the injured person on how to proceed with the two possible cases.
It’s always a good idea to monitor your vehicle for active recalls. Just this spring, an individual in South Carolina was killed after his Honda’s Takata airbag exploded. The airbag had been recalled 10 years earlier. You can search by your vehicle’s VIN on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site.
Call your South Georgia product liability attorney today
Cases involving product liability and personal injury are complex. An experienced product liability attorney will understand how to connect injuries to a product default and link the crash to the car’s problems. At The King Firm, our team has the experience and knowledge necessary to pursue the best possible results for your case. Contact us today at 229-515-8585 for a free case consultation.