A large portion of accidents that occur on the road are due to car part defect liability. It seems like every time you turn on the news there is a recall for some automotive part. There are also warnings for car owners that they must take their vehicles into the shop for mandatory maintenance to fix these defects. What happens when owners don’t take their vehicles to get fixed? Or, what happens when companies don’t catch these defects initially? Now, you have vehicles driving on the road that are unsafe and could potentially cause you injury. Michael Redenburg is an experienced personal injury lawyer that knows all about car part defects. He can help you build a case against the negligent parties to get you the judgment you’re seeking.
What are some of the problems that result from defective car parts in New York?
Product liability claims generally target manufacturers, automobile designers, and those businesses that sell and produce parts. There are two categories of claims:
As we mentioned previously, vehicle recalls are a result of a poor product design. So, the issue with the part can be related to the manufacturing or the design. Even though automobiles are becoming more advanced, a defective bolt can cause your car to fail while on the road. Once your car fails you can hurt yourself or others. In the worst situations, someone could die.
Manufacturers can be held liable for defective parts if they know of the failures and specific injuries to customers. A good example of this is when small children were allowed to ride in the front seat of the car. Companies knew that airbags posed a risk to the safety of small children, but they didn’t warn their customers. So, when children were injured, these parents took personal lawsuits out against those car manufacturers.
When an accident is caused by a defective part, who is liable?
There are many accidents that occur, where drivers don’t know their car had a defective part. This is why cars should be examined after the accident to determine the cause. In New York, we have laws that make it easy for you to file claims against the automobile companies themselves.
This doctrine is referred to as strict liability. Through strict liability, consumers have the ability to file a claim against manufacturers, product designers, or distributors. You don’t have to prove that the negligent party didn’t do their job upholding safety standards. So, even if a manufacturer did many different safety tests, you could still receive compensation.
Even though bringing a lawsuit against these parties can be easy, you still need to be able to prove who is liable. A defect can happen at any stage of the manufacturing or design process. You could also find that several parties are responsible for the defective part causing your car crash. For example, if you have a bolt on the interior that breaks, you could bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the bolt, a company that supplied the metal, and the manufacturer of the automobile. It is easy to see why you need to retain counsel as soon as you think a defective part was responsible for your accident.
What information do I need to establish which party is liable?
There are three different conditions that you must satisfy to prove liability under the strict liability doctrine:
The vital components of the vehicle must have “unreasonably dangerous” defects
The defect must lead to injuries while you were driving the vehicle in a reasonable manner.
You did not alter the vehicle in a way that would alter its performance
An experienced product liability attorney will begin your case by collecting a large amount of evidence to support your claim. Any of this evidence could include:
- The vehicle or the defective part
- Photographs of injuries
- Photographs of the scene of the accident
- Police reports of the accident
- Testimony from experts
- Inspection reports of the vehicle from repair shops
- Testimony from eyewitnesses
- Information from similar cases
Manufacturers and design teams are required by law to produce vehicles that are crashworthy
Crashworthy isn’t a term that many people use in a typical conversation, and when you’re behind the wheel it’s one of the most important aspects of your vehicle. When you drive down the road, you’re trusting that the companies responsible for your car built and supplied safe parts. These parts should be able to withstand an accident with another vehicle or object on the road. You never know when an accident could happen, and your vehicle has the responsibility of keeping you safe.
Crashworthy vehicles should also be manufactured to absorb some of the impacts of the collision while maintaining the structure of the compartment. As long as you are driving your vehicle under reasonable conditions, vehicles should be designed to maintain the integrity of the occupant compartment. Your restraints in your vehicle must also be able to withstand the impact of a crash.
Technology advances so quickly that vehicles are changing all the time. With so many new models on the road, standards for a crashworthy vehicle improves each year. A few decades ago airbags didn’t exist, and all of those vehicles were thought to be safe. Now, we know differently, and most companies strive to create safer vehicles annually. There are now cars that automatically stop if you get too close to the car in front of you.
These are the advances that many manufacturers are making in the industry, but some automotive manufacturers are lagging behind. It is these companies, not improving their vehicles, that are liable for most of the product liability lawsuits. Recalls are a way for these companies to fix problems in past vehicles, while they minimize their risk of being sued over defective parts in the future.
If you or your loved one has been involved in a car accident as the result of a car part defect, it is time to call Michael J. Redenburg, Esq. P.C. We can take the details of your accident and collect the necessary evidence to support your product liability case. Contact us today to set up your appointment.