When it comes to product liability, defects found in motor vehicles can be some of the most dangerous both for the individuals driving them and also for other cars on the road. The number of automobile manufacturers being sued for product liability has been increasing in recent years. Reforms in product liability law have made the process and procedure friendlier to plaintiff's seeking to claim compensation from manufacturers who are at fault for negligence. This shift may seem like an advantage to injured drivers seeking to file a claim but it has caused automobile manufacturers to strengthen their defense in the case of a defective product lawsuit.
In past years, common examples of auto product liability claims have included SUV's that are overly prone to rolling, cars sold with tires that have a high risk of blowing out and motorcycles that become unstable when driven at high speeds. In general, auto product liability claims involve one of two types of defects found in motor vehicles. First, the car may have been manufactured defectively or with defective products. These defects can occur due to a number of reasons such as a defect in the manufacturing process of the car or the parts, or a problem that caused defect during the shipping process for supplies. The other category of defects is much harder to spot but significantly more prone to effecting a large group of consumers in a negative way. Vehicles manufactured according to an inherently dangerous design can put the drivers at risk of injury no matter how well they were manufactured or how high the quality of parts used was. While many products are dangerous by nature of their use, cars designed with an unreasonable risk of danger put drivers at an unnecessary risk of injury often unknown to them until it is too late.
The key to a successful auto product liability claim calls for several key factors. First and foremost, knowing who to sue can significantly impact the chances for a successful claim. While someone may have a legitimate case, if they end up filing against the wrong party the outcome can be devastating. Therefore, the defendant should be determined before the case is filed according to the circumstances of the situation and with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer in Santa Clarita. Furthermore, there may be more than one defendant in the case according to the chain of distribution.
Automobile Manufacturer: In most Auto Product Liability cases, the manufacturer of the vehicle in the case is probably a very large corporation. This means that their ability to defend themselves through a team of aggressive defense attorneys is much stronger than one injured person seeking compensation. However, the fact that they are a large company can also mean they have more money to compensate the plaintiff if their case is successful.
Parts Manufacturer: In many cases of a defective motor vehicle, the fault can be traced back to a defective product used in the production of the car. In that case, the manufacturer of the individual part at fault for the injury, such as a defective battery or weak tires, would be liable for the damages caused by their company's mistakes. If the car's defective part was included in the stock version of the car, then the plaintiff will include both the manufacturer and the parts manufacturer in the suit because both had a duty to ensure the quality of their respective products. If the part was bought as an aftermarket product, then the parts manufacturer would be the only defendant in the case.
Car Dealership/Used Car Dealer: While policies on how liable a dealership can be for selling a defective car vary state by state, this area of law is developing to broaden the scope especially concerning used car dealers.
Middleman/Shipping Company: In every chain of product distribution, there is sure to be one or more middlemen involved in the handling of the product under question. Companies such as shipping companies should be examined in order to determine whether there was negligence in their duties when handling the defective product.
There are several other factors that can affect a case, such as who the owner of the defective car was and what kind of case should actually be filed. If the driver injured in the process was not the owner of the car, they may still have grounds to file a defective product case such as in the case of a rental car or borrowed car. Furthermore, it is important for the claimant to determine, with the help of their personal injury attorney, whether their case should be filed as a car accident claim or a product liability claim. If the injured person was not the driver of the defective car, they may, in very rare circumstances, have grounds to sue both the manufacturer of the defective car and the other driver in the accident. While the legal principles behind an auto product liability claim is fundamentally different than a car accident claim, negligence on the part of both the driver and the manufacturing company can result in injuries for an innocent person who is then entitled to claim compensation from both parties.
There are three main points that a plaintiff will be required to prove in order to win an auto product liability claim for their injuries. First, the plaintiff must show the damages, whether physical/emotional or financial, they incurred and prove that they have reason to be claiming compensation. Secondly, the plaintiff's party must prove through evidence and expert witness testimony that the motor vehicle involved in the case was defectively manufactured or designed and that the defect was the direct cause of the damages brought on to the plaintiff.
These cases can be very difficult to prove, especially if the manufacturing company named in the suit is equipped with a team of defense lawyers. That is why the plaintiff should equip themselves with an equally aggressive personal injury lawyer from Santa Clarita. If you or someone you know is considering making an auto product liability claim to recover compensation, contact The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus to learn how our experienced legal team can help you build an effective and successful case.