Determining Liability for a Vehicle Defect
- September 24, 2014
- Vehicle Defects
Thousands of people are injured every year as the result of automobile defects. Vehicle defects may cause or contribute to traffic accidents, safety features can malfunction and result in additional injury and components sometimes fail making the vehicle a hazard even when it isn’t in motion. The modern automobile literally has thousands of different parts and when some of them are defective, it can make for a product that is not reasonably safe for the consumer.
Injuries that are the result of an automobile defect can lead to a lifetime of pain and suffering and, with the combination of a diminished ability to earn an income and the cost of the resulting medical expenses, it can also have a negative impact on the individual’s financial well being. Fortunately, there is legal recourse that the consumer can take if a defective automobile caused them to suffer an injury. With the help of a vehicle defect lawyer, the consumer can attempt to recover compensation for their losses.
Determining Liability for a Vehicle Defect Case
Making a determination of liability in a vehicle defect case can be somewhat complicated because there are a lot of factors that can determine who is liable and to what level they hold responsibility. If the case involves a traffic accident where one of the drivers was operating a defective vehicle, there could be some level of driver negligence that also contributed to the accident. That does not mean that you don’t have a valid product liability claim against the manufacturer of the vehicle or the part that failed, but some of the blame might be on the driver and some might be on the manufacturer.
Along with that, there are also different theories of liability that may apply to auto defect litigation. Most of these cases will fall under the concept of strict product liability where the plaintiff only needs to prove that, through a flaw in the design or manufacture, the vehicle or a part of the vehicle was not reasonably safe.
However, there could also be additional claims that relate to express or implied warranties. An express warranty is essentially a warranty contract between the consumer and a manufacturer and/or supplier. If it can be shown that the defect was in violation of this warranty, there could be a case for breach of warranty. With an implied warranty, the idea is that all products are supposed to meet certain standards regardless of any express warranty that is issued by the manufacturer or seller. What that means is that when a consumer purchases a product, even if there is no written warranty, they should expect the product to perform as intended and that it should meet reasonable standards of safety.
Product liability laws as they apply to motor vehicles can be rather complicated and the cases that fit in this category will have a range of different parts. The complexity of these claims requires the expertise of a vehicle defect attorney to research all of the responsible parties, demonstrate their level of liability and to build a case that will successfully recover fair compensation.