Thousands of automobile accidents occur in the United States each year due to faulty auto parts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many people don’t realize how many vehicles on the road today are defective. Every year, major auto manufacturers recall thousands of vehicles due to defects. While some of these defects are relatively minor, others have the potential to cause life-threatening injuries.
Product Liability in Relation to Vehicular Accidents
Product liability occurs when a defect in the parts or the design of a vehicle either causes the accident or makes the injuries sustained by the victims worse than what they normally would have sustained. Many parties can be held liable in a product liability claim, depending on where the defect lies.
Stages of Possible Defects and the Parties at Fault
In order to produce a vehicle, years are dedicated to designing and manufacturing the product. If you are involved in an accident and a product defect caused your injuries or exacerbated them, then you must determine first what caused your accident. Product liability cases can usually can be categorized into three stages:
1. Defects in the Design
This happens during conceptualization when the design of the vehicle is drafted and finalized before going into production. If the vehicle is defective by nature, then the designer is principally to blame for the accident.
2. Defects in Manufacture
If the design of the vehicle is sound, but the defects in the vehicle or its parts were due to the defective production of parts (i.e. the specifications and quality of materials used were not on par with the design), then the manufacturer is principally at fault for the accident.
3. Defects in Distribution
If the vehicle is not defective but during the shipping or distribution of the vehicle, the vehicle suffered damage (such as the wrong placement of hooks for transport, which could lead to misaligned wheels), then the distributor will be held principally liable for the accident.
Proof Required to Show Product Liability
Different types of proof need to be provided in order to demonstrate that the designer, manufacturer, or distributor was at fault for the defective product which led to the accident.
1. Ordinary Negligence
You have to prove that the other party was negligent and in breach of the diligence or care required under the circumstances.
2. Strict Liability
In contrast with ordinary negligence, in alleging product liability, the strict liability rule applies. This means you have to prove that the product is defective to make the designer, manufacturer, or distributor liable for your damages. You don’t have to prove that the negligent party probably committed breach by not providing the degree of care required in making all the parts used in the vehicle.
3. Breach of Implied Warranty
The owner of the vehicle involved in the accident can also allege breach of implied warranty that the vehicle is roadworthy. In this case, it is enough to show that since the vehicle figured in an accident without negligence on your part, then the accident could be a breach of implied warranty that no harm would come to the consumer upon driving the vehicle minus negligence on his part.
Hire a Product Liability Lawyer to Obtain Damages Against the Party at Fault
In most instances, if you are claiming accident due to product liability, there may be others who have already filed similar cases due to the same defect. You might get lucky if there is a class suit already pending, as you can just file a claim as a part of that class.
If your case is different, then the best thing to do is hire an expert car accident lawyer in Los Angeles who has experience in dealing with product liability lawsuits. A product liability law firm with a proven track record of success will fight hard not only to bring the parties at fault to justice, but will also ensure that you’re fairly compensated for your losses and suffering.