There is an inherent guarantee attached to each product made available to consumers that the product is not defective and will not cause serious harm to the consumer as long as the consumer does not misuse the product.
However, products do not always arrive in the store as a company intended them to be. Occasionally, a piece of manufacturing equipment may malfunction, causing the product to come out of the factory with a defect that the manufacturer never intended. When this happens, the product may not be used in the manner it was intended without causing accidents and injuries.
The following statistics illustrate the serious harm that can result from manufacturing defects:
- 22 homes in Arkansas had to be evacuated when an Exxon-Mobile pipeline burst due to a manufacturing defect, causing a massive oil spill.
- A manufacturing defect in playing cards allegedly caused The Borgata Hotel Casino in
- Atlantic City to lose $9.6 million dollars.
- A single manufacturing defect in the Odyssey’s oxygen tanks is what caused NASA’s Apollo 13 mission crew to turn back before they reached the moon.
- Chrysler recalled 1.62 million Jeeps after two manufacturing defects in that type of vehicle caused several fatal accidents, including 37 fires following rear-end collisions.
- Harley-Davidson announced a recall of one type of motorcycle after discovering that a manufacturing defect led to the brake fluid draining out, resulting in serious brake defects.
Defective Auto Parts
Car accidents caused by defective auto parts can cause catastrophic and fatal injuries. When auto parts designed to keep occupants safe fail, motorists are at risk of dangerous car accidents. Defective ignition switches can turn the power off of cars traveling at high speeds and disables their brakes and steering. Defective child car seats may have latches that do not open, effectively trapping babies and infants in their seats during emergency situations.
Listed below are a few different types of manufacturing defects:
- Faulty ignition switches
- Exploding airbags
- Defective tires
- Faulty child car seats
- Defective seat belts
- Faulty heated seats
- Seat failure
Do Auto Parts Manufacturers Police Themselves?
In recent years, many dangerous and deadly defects by car manufacturers and automobile parts manufacturers have flown under the radar. As with many industries, these manufacturers may not appropriately police themselves. Federal agencies have started cracking down on irresponsible manufacturers’ timeliness and safety for consumer recalls.
Who Is Accountable for Dangerous and Deadly Defects?
Defective auto parts put people at risk. Manufacturers may know about these defects for months or longer before doing anything about it. Cases brought to the attention of an attorney and to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can help to raise awareness about defective auto parts.
How Do I Know If My Car is Under Recall?
Automobile manufacturers do not always contact individuals about recalls. Although they’re supposed to contact you and publicize information about the recall, sometimes it doesn’t happen.
You may have to do some research. Find the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on your car, write it down, and then use a search engine to determine if your vehicle is under recall. You can also check manufacturer’s websites for years, makes, and models.
What if the Defective Part Hasn’t Been Recalled Yet?
Many injuries and deaths due to manufacturing defects happen before recalls are ever announced. Suppose you think a defective auto part or manufacturing defect caused your accident. In that case, you report it to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the auto manufacturer, and speak with an attorney as soon as possible. It can take months or years for recalls to happen. Hire an attorney as soon as possible.
What Are NHTSA Recalls?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) maintains a database of all recalls due to auto defects issued for motor vehicles, safety equipment, car seats, and tires. Not all vehicle defects are reported to the NHTSA. Use the NHTSA database if you suspect that a vehicle defect caused a collision, injury, or death. The database cannot be used as the basis to conclude that a car defect was not the cause of an injury.
Even if the NHTSA does not report the defect, it does not mean that an accident or injury was not caused by a faulty car or car part. If any of the following characteristics are seen in a crash, an independent investigation should be completed before ruling out an auto defect:
- Minor collision with traumatic injury or death;
- One occupant of the vehicle suffered catastrophic injuries, but the others only sustained minor injuries;
- Severe damage to just one area of the vehicle; or
- Occupants secured by a seat belt were seriously injured or thrown from the vehicle in a rollover accident.
What Are Failure of Seatbacks in Motor Vehicle Accidents?
Seatbacks are one of the most common failures in vehicle safety equipment. A seatback is designed to stabilize a passenger’s torso and back when a collision occurs, even at high speeds. If the seatbacks, including the back seats, collapse backward during a crash, this can be from a defect within the seat. Seatback defects can be overlooked because first responders may move the seat to extricate the occupant.
Car manufacturers often use cheaper materials like plastic for the back seats, which fail more often than front seats. Parents are told to put children in the back seat to ensure their safety. However, the combination of a defective seatback and the type of accident can prove to be a deadly combination for both adults and children placed in back seats.
How Can Faulty Gas Tanks Cause Fires and Explosions?
A vehicle defect that is surprisingly common but entirely preventable is gasoline fires. Cars should be designed with fuel systems that maintain integrity when involved in collisions. However, many drivers survive the initial accident but are engulfed in flames from a faulty fuel system that leaks gasoline on hot engine parts.
To prevent a vehicle from catching fire, gas tanks should be positioned safely, gas lines should be protected, and safety valves that shut off gas flow when a leak is detected should be in place. Auto manufacturers may try to cut costs by eliminating these safety devices.
What Are the Types of Tire Manufacturing Defects?
Tires defects may also cause injury or death. You should regularly check and maintain tire pressure within the guidelines printed on the tire’s sidewall, as well as the weather and road conditions stated by the vehicle manufacturer. A defective tire has the potential to result in a catastrophic accident.
Defective tires may be inexplicable at first look until an expert examines the tires. Older tires can fail as the material degrades from use and sun damage. All tires deteriorate with age. As tires age, they can become more susceptible to tread separation. This can increase the risk of a vehicle losing control.
Contacting a Lawyer for a Manufacturing Defect Issue
A manufacturer owes a general duty to the public to keep defective products from entering the marketplace. If you have suffered property damage or personal injury due to a manufacturing defect, you should contact a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer familiar with product liability can assist you in litigating your manufacturing defect case and help you receive compensation for your injuries.