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Motor Vehicle Product Liability Lawsuits

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What Is Motor Vehicle Product Liability?

In general, product liability occurs when there is some sort of defect with a product that causes injury or economic loss to a consumer. Product liability is often based on different types of defects, such as a warning defect, manufacturing defect, or design defect. When it comes to motor vehicles, a car can be defective in a number of ways. These may have to do with aspects of the automobile such as:

  • Engine systems
  • Keyless fobs
  • Airbag, seatbelt, and other safety restraint systems
  • Headlights, taillights, signal lights
  • Tires, wheels and brakes

In many cases, a faulty vehicle or vehicle part may be subject to a product recall.

What Are Some Common Motor Vehicle Product Liability Claims?

Some common motor vehicle defect claims include:

  • Brake failure
  • Gas pedals or transmission gears getting “stuck”
  • Inadequate warnings in the manual
  • Failure of an airbag to deploy during a collision
  • Electrical hazards and fires, especially for newer electric-only vehicles

Some product defects can originate not in a manufacturer’s work, but in defective car repairs or defective mechanic work. For instance, if a mechanic installs a faulty or fake car part, they might be held liable if that part malfunctions and causes injury to a driver or passenger.

What If I Have Been Injured Due to a Motor Vehicle Defect?

When filing a motor vehicle product liability claim, the victim generally needs to prove:

  • The vehicle was defective in some way
  • The defendant (usually the manufacturer) was responsible for the defect
  • The victim used the automobile in its intended manner
  • The defect caused the plaintiff’s injury or economic loss
  • The plaintiff’s losses are real and can be measured in a dollar amount

Evidence used in the claim may include: physical items from the car, which is often gleaned from the accident scene; video or photographs; witness testimony; police reports and other written documents; and similar claims from other plaintiffs. Many motor vehicle product liability lawsuits end up being filed as class action lawsuits if many people were injured by the same type of car.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Motor vehicles are complex and may have many different considerations when it comes to product liability claims. You may need to hire a lawyer if you need help filing or evaluating a liability claim. Your attorney can review the facts and material to determine what type of compensation may be available to you. In most cases, a monetary damages award is available to help cover injuries, medical costs, purchase costs, and other economic factors.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 10-27-2015 02:21 PM PDT

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