To claim damages from another driver after being hurt in a car accident, you typically need to demonstrate their negligence. However, you do not have to prove that the vehicle’s seller or manufacturer was negligent if you were hurt and want to sue them instead. Instead, the strict liability concept governs liability in cases involving motor vehicle defects.
Generally speaking, a motor vehicle fault only refers to problems that pose a safety risk in the context of a lawsuit or a recall for auto defects. This contains defects that could endanger the operator or passengers’ safety. As a result, visual problems like a poor paint job or an improperly placed sticker typically aren’t covered by a successful car defects lawsuit.
Some of the most frequent examples of alleged motor vehicle defects include, but are not limited to:
- Defects in the fuel, exhaust, and cooling systems;
- Steering mechanisms that are out of alignment;
- Structural issues with the frame, body, transmission, or engine assembly; and/or
- Electrical and computer issues, such as faulty keyless entry.
Federal motor vehicle safety regulations set the minimum performance standards for the components that will probably impact a vehicle’s functioning.
Brakes, tires, the steering wheel, lighting, or anything else related to the protection of the drivers and passengers are included, but not necessarily limited to, in this.
What Do I Need to Establish to Show an Automobile Defect?
You must demonstrate the following to be awarded damages for an injury brought on by a flaw in the vehicle itself:
- You were hurt by a “reasonably dangerous” flaw in the car or one of its parts: The flaw could have been introduced during the design phase, manufacturing, handling, or shipping of the product or by failing to alert customers to a potentially hazardous feature of the vehicle. Takata airbags, which are included in many Honda vehicles and are known to rupture in certain extremely hot conditions, are one example of this.
- While the vehicle was being utilized as it was supposed to be used, the flaw led to an injury: For instance, if a sports car was used off-road, you might not be able to make a recovery.
- The car was still mostly in the same condition when it was first sold: “Substantially” refers to something that significantly alters how the car operates.
Normally, the injured party would have to show that the car’s maker was somehow careless or irresponsible. However, as was previously indicated, instances involving defective motor vehicles are typically based on the legal principle of product responsibility.
As a result, even though the injuries were not the manufacturer’s intention, the plaintiff may still be able to get damages provided the criteria above are met. This holds true even if the vehicle’s creator didn’t necessarily act carelessly or not at all.
The plaintiff can be entitled to financial compensation for their injuries if the judge decides that the company that made the car did release a defective product. Typically, these damages will cover the plaintiff’s expenses for hospital bills, lost wages due to the injuries, and any required therapy or rehab fees.
Some examples of defective motor vehicles may even lead to a class action lawsuit or the recall of the faulty automobile or component.
How Do I Get My Losses Back After a Car Fault? What Possible Treatments are there?
You must demonstrate the following to establish that the vehicle’s manufacturer was accountable for your harm or losses:
- You did not significantly alter the vehicle from the state in which it was originally sold;
- The motor vehicle had an “unreasonably dangerous defect” that resulted in your injury or loss;
- The vehicle was being used properly in accordance with how it was intended to be used (you probably cannot recover if you were consistently driving in the wrong gear, for example). The term “substantially altered” does not apply to routine maintenance or repairs but to the precise way the vehicle is intended to operate.
This implies that even if the car manufacturer did not intend for your injuries to occur or was not acting recklessly, you might still be eligible for compensation if you can prove the aforementioned criteria were met.
As previously mentioned, a “reasonably dangerous flaw” may be related to the following:
- The general design of the vehicle;
- A manufacturing defect, which means that the design is okay, but the vehicle was incorrectly constructed; or
- Failing to give enough notice of any potentially hazardous features of the vehicle, such as by neglecting to attach a warning placard if one is necessary.
You may be entitled to damages for any harm the vehicle’s flaw causes if the manufacturer is deemed to have released a defective product. In some circumstances, the manufacturer might be obligated to cover the expense of fixing the flaw. You might also be eligible to participate in a class action lawsuit if the same flaw has impacted other people. Or, the producer might announce a recall.
Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) often issues recalls, the automaker may also do so if a flaw is found. According to federal law, the manufacturer is required to notify all registered owners and purchasers if your vehicle or a component of your vehicle is being recalled. They must send this by first-class mail and identify the affected owners by using data from the state’s vehicle registration system.
The vehicle manufacturer must offer a free fix for the issue raised by the recall to all licensed owners and buyers. This remedy may consist of a completely new car, free installation of new parts, or monetary compensation as a damages award.
Lastly, the court may occasionally order punitive damages. This is done to persuade the manufacturer to fix the issue, particularly if the vehicle’s design has been compromised.
Are Car Defect Claims Subject To Defenses?
If it can be proven that you were aware of the fault but yet continued to use the car, the vehicle seller or manufacturer may be able to contest your strict liability damage claims, particularly if you’ve had the vehicle for a while.
This is typically demonstrated by the vehicle’s state or by your own account of how you used the car. In some areas, a manufacturer or seller may also be able to refute your claim for a motor vehicle defect because your own negligence contributed to or worsened your injuries.
Can Punitive Damages Be Charged Against A Manufacturer?
Punitive damages, which are awards over and beyond regular damages meant to penalize car manufacturers and motivate them to correct ingrained flaws in vehicle designs that have led to injury, are often included in successful cases against manufacturers.
Should I Seek Legal Advice Regarding Injuries Caused by Car Defects?
You might be eligible for financial compensation if an automobile flaw caused your injuries. It can be challenging to prove your case, but a defective products attorney in your area can help you understand the law and put your case together so you can assert your right to compensation.
Your attorney can provide representation and guidance in the event of a legal dispute or issue that needs to go to trial.