Auto Product Liability Attorney
While auto manufacturers must provide safe vehicles for consumers, they do not always fulfill this duty. When these companies fail to produce safe automobiles, innocent people suffer serious injuries and even die.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for injured victims harmed by defective auto products leading to severe harm and wrongful death. Our legal team has years of experience handling defective product liability cases and can help your family too.
Call a vehicle defect attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our law office remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Manufacturing Defect Design and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 165 million cars are on American roads. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people are injured in car accidents every year, and thousands die because of defective products.
The NHTSA has found around 2 million motor vehicle crashes yearly in the U.S., with 6 million injuries and 40,000 deaths due to these problems each year. Of these accidents, a good portion could be prevented by the implementation of product testing and certification.
The NHTSA is mandated to help reduce deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes while ensuring a safer transportation system for all Americans through promoting or regulating safety standards for motor vehicles.
In other words, they are responsible for the safety of vehicles on America's roadways.
The agency investigates complaints and problems with automobiles, establishes vehicle safety standards for new cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), etc., and enforces compliance with all applicable federal regulations of motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS).
If an automotive manufacturer creates or sells defective cars, the NHTSA has the power to fine them for their actions. They also have recourse in the form of recalls to protect consumers from defective products.
Seatbelts, child restraints, airbags, and other safety equipment are all parts of FMVSS that help save lives.
While these standards always improve safety, when automakers fail to meet them, the NHTSA has the power to act. For example, they may stop the sale or manufacture of such products and order that they be returned by a certain date for corrective measures to be made.
Manufacturing Defects: Consumer Recalls and Product Liability Lawsuits
In addition to the work of the NHTSA, auto manufacturers who create defective vehicles must also contend with consumer recalls and defective product liability lawsuits.
A recall is an official notification by a manufacturer or vehicle dealer that a vehicle (or another type of product) needs to be repaired because it contains a safety defect or noncompliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards.
A manufacturer may issue a recall itself or cooperate with the NHTSA, and dealers and distributors can also request a recall on behalf of customers. There are two types of recalls:
- Market withdrawal: This is an action taken by the manufacturer to remove defective motor vehicles from distribution channels (in other words, it is a recall of the product to prevent injuries).
- Corrective action: This is an action taken by the manufacturer to fix defective motor vehicles that are already distributed in the marketplace.
Manufacturers should issue a market withdrawal or corrective action if defects are discovered that pose unreasonable safety risks or risk of death or serious bodily injury.
One example of a major recall occurred in 1996 when Bridgestone/Firestone recalled 6.5 million tires after 236 deaths and 300 injuries. Although the tire was not found to be defective, there were over 200 fatalities due to accidents caused by the failure of these Goodyear tires to grip the road properly while cornering.
In addition, consumer lawsuits regarding the tire failures were filed, which eventually led to a class action settlement of $240 million.
A defective product liability lawsuit is an injury claim brought against the manufacturer or seller of a defective vehicle that injured someone or caused death. It is different from other types of product liability claims because it involves products rather than negligent drivers.
Common types of defective vehicles that may lead to a product liability lawsuit are those with dangerous defects.
- Design Defects: The vehicle was designed in such a way as to be unreasonably dangerous, even if it is assembled properly. For example, the design may have been flawed, or the parts might not have protected passengers from injury during an auto accident.
- Manufacturing Defects: The product was assembled incorrectly, and this part of the manufacturing process caused injury or death. In some cases, a design flaw may cause a defective product during the assembly process.
- Marketing Errors: When a manufacturer fails to provide adequate instructions or warnings regarding foreseeable risks associated with using the product, they may be held liable for any resulting injuries.
Some defective vehicles that have caused injuries and deaths include defective airbags, seat belts or seatback failure, car fires due to poorly designed fuel systems. Also, it includes cigarette lighters, defective tires that blow out despite being properly inflated, brake failures, or another defective part.
Car manufacturers must create safe vehicles that can be used as intended without causing injury or death. If someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by defective auto parts, they have the right to hold those responsible accountable for their injuries and related damages.
Contact our defective auto product liability attorneys to discuss your motor vehicle accident involving defective auto parts.
Defective Vehicles: Car Accidents, Safety Measures and Your Legal Rights
Many factors can lead to the production of a defective vehicle. These include poor quality control, insufficient research, development, or carelessness on behalf of the manufacturer.
Nevertheless, consumers are constantly bombarded with advertisements touting how safe each auto manufacturer's vehicles are and the many awards their cars and trucks have received for such advancements in safety.
Yet, it is not uncommon to find news articles about automotive recalls resulting from defective parts or equipment that has harmed motorists and the occupants in their vehicles. These defects can cause accidents and serious injuries that can ruin or take peoples' lives.
When such incidents can be easily avoided but are not due to acts of negligence by the manufacturer, the automaker must be held responsible.
The NHTSA regulations put forth to reduce the risk of defective vehicles, accidents still occur. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a vehicle defect, contact us for a free consultation.
We will investigate your case and help you explore all legal options available to you, such as filing a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Contact our product liability law firm to get help with your defective vehicle claim!
Poor Design and Workmanship Resulting in Parts That Fail or Wear Quickly
Suppose it can be determined that the cause of an accident or the severity of an injury sustained in an accident is the result of poor design or materials of low quality. In that case, it may be possible to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
A defective product can cause injury or death and may even be the cause of an otherwise avoidable accident. Common examples include defective tires, brake systems, steering columns, defective airbags, roll bars, and fuel systems.
Poorly designed roofs and roll cages can cause serious injury in the event of a rollover, and fuel system defects can cause post-collision fires that result in severe burns or deaths that would have otherwise been prevented.
Poor tires, brakes, and steering systems may contribute to the possibility of rollover events. In addition, the failure of an airbag to deploy properly could be the difference between life and death.
Defective Seat Belts, Airbags, and Roof Supports – Compromised Protection
The National Traffic Safety Administration requires automakers to ensure that all safety features are designed according to rigorous standards. However, despite such precautions, a defective product can continue to cause injury and even death due to the failure of these necessary safety features.
For decades, seat belt systems and airbags have significantly reduced the number of vehicle fatalities each year. However, when the products have a defect, the recently recalled defective airbags, they can quickly lead to catastrophic injuries and death.
Many defective seat belts unpredictably unlatch or the webbing tears upon impact. In some auto defect cases, the buckle may not release, resulting in a passenger being trapped and unable to escape from the vehicle.
In addition, a faulty airbag system can lead to tragic accidents – sometimes resulting in more severe injuries or death.
Car, SUV, & Truck Roof Collapses
A vehicle's roof is crucial to surviving a rollover accident if the material is not crushed or collapsed. Unfortunately, many unavoidable rollover collisions result in catastrophic injuries and death when a substandard roof support system collapses.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC), roll bars and roof supports should be able to resist the force of the impact, but when they are not adequately designed or made with defective parts, that safety measure can fail.
There have been many instances where despite having proper safety measures installed on a vehicle, including properly working seat belts, airbags, and roof support systems, the roof collapses due to a lack of strength and durability.
Defective Fuel System
An incorrectly positioned fuel tank could create catastrophic results during installation by placing the vehicle at a higher risk of destruction during an accident impact. Unfortunately, many fuel systems are defective due to failing welding points that allow gas to flow during a collision.
Such accidents lead to some of the most devastating injuries and even fatalities. For example, faulty fuel tank placement, substandard welds, and improperly manufactured parts can cause serious injury or death during an otherwise avoidable accident.
Even a minimal blowout or tire failure can cause fatal rollovers, leading to severe injuries and death. Recently, Firestone, Cooper, and other tire manufacturers have been involved in massive recalls of their products due to shoddy production and design flaws resulting in court or minimal tread adherents.
Any tread that separates while traveling at a high rate of speed poses a danger to drivers and passengers. While Nissan has won defective product liability cases against Firestone, many other companies continue having recalls and facing lawsuits due to their negligence in designing and manufacturing defective tires.
Defective Power Windows
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced that hundreds of people have been severely injured in power window-related issues every year. Most victims suffering catastrophic injuries involving power windows are 14 years old and younger.
In many cases, the power windows unexpectedly roll down, trapping small children by their hair. In other incidents, the power window switch malfunctions and closes upon a child's arm or hand, resulting in permanent amputation or even death.
If you or someone close to you has been seriously injured due to a defective product, then you or they may be entitled to compensation.
Contact a personal injury attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC to discuss filing a product liability lawsuit to learn more about your legal options and rights after a vehicle accident due to defects.
Physical and Financial Tolls on People Injured in Car Defect Accidents
Being involved in a serious injury changes the lives of everyone involved, regardless of the severity of the accident. In many cases, victims are left with exorbitant medical expenses and cannot work while they recover.
Some people are unable to recover fully and may require medical care for the rest of their lives. When such events can easily be prevented, companies that fail to address defects in the design, parts, and materials that make up their product, those companies must be held accountable and provide compensation to those who have been harmed because of their negligence.
The disappointing truth about recalls in the automotive industry is that they are only addressed if an auto manufacturer determines that it is less damaging to their margins to recall defective products. Moreover, fix defects in vehicles' design than it would be if they needed to compensate all of those affected by the error.
In other words, every automobile manufacturer makes decisions on peoples' safety by calculating whether it is more profitable to fix a known error or to provide compensation to those who will ultimately be injured, maimed, or killed by their products.
Negligence v. Strict Liability
Nearly all product liability cases are founded on the theory of negligence that identifies how a company or individual failed to exercise a specific "level of care." This level of care usually defines how ordinary people are. Companies would act under similar circumstances.
For example, suppose most auto manufacturers would not sell a certain product without first testing it to determine whether its design could cause an injury. In that case, it is negligent for that company that has product defects to do so.
Alternatively, some defective products liability cases are based on negligence; however, some are founded on other theories such as "strict liability." Strict liability makes it possible for individuals injured from products to seek compensation if they can prove that it was a defective product beyond a reasonable doubt.
To be successful on a strict product liability claim, an individual or family would need to show that their injury was caused by one of three defects involving consumer safety, including:
- The design defect: A design defect is present when any aspect of the product's design is unsafe for a consumer.
- The manufacturing defect: A manufacturing defect is present when a company makes a defective product that fails to conform to the intended design because of some mistake in its production process.
- The marketing defect: In strict product liability claims, a marketing defect applies when a manufacturer or seller fails to warn consumers about the dangers of their product or fails to provide complete and proper instructions on how to use it safely.
Preemption is a legal doctrine that supersedes state law in some circumstances, particularly when Congress passes laws that make certain issues federal matters. The U.S. Supreme Court has created rules limiting state authority to regulate areas that Congress intended to occupy the entire field.
Under the preemption doctrine, Congress is typically given full power over interstate commerce and national economic policy issues. However, state legislatures can establish safety regulations that address their concerns to not interfere with or contradict federal law. When a state law is passed that establishes additional safety regulations, it must either:
- Establish a minimum standard for the product throughout the state
- Prohibit certain practices or behaviors that are related to the safety of a product
Preemption does not apply when Congress only intends to regulate a specific industry through federal law and has not attempted to address a specific safety issue. In these instances, the state may establish additional safety regulations.
In other cases where Congress has not explicitly addressed an issue, it is up to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether a state law is allowed or prohibited by federal law because of preemption.
If manufacturers have been shown to prioritize profits over customers' safety, individuals, and families who a product has injured can still seek compensation for their damages.
However, they must understand that the type of claim they file will determine whether preemption applies to their defective product liability case. If so, the ability to recover could be limited depending on which state laws apply to them.
A Vehicle Defect Law Firm That Is Committed to Protecting Your Rights
Were you involved in a car accident that likely involved defective auto products? Your auto defect lawyers must evaluate the possibility that poor design or defective product may have contributed to the auto accident or the severity of your injuries.
It is often difficult to prove whether an accident results from driver error or vehicle defects. Still, our defective product liability lawyers have access to all the resources and experts in accident reconstruction needed to determine whether you have a product liability case.
Contact our product liability lawyers today for legal advice and schedule a risk-free consultation. Let us answer any questions about recovering compensation and help you through the next steps toward recovery.
Our personal injury legal team accepts every product liability claim through a contingency fee arrangement. This promise ensures you pay nothing until your defective product liability case is resolved through a jury trial or negotiated settlement.