Proving a Vehicle Defect Liability Claim
- April 17, 2015
- Vehicle Defects
A vehicle defect can occur in several ways, but one of the most common is that the manufacturer made a mistake when putting the vehicle together. Because vehicles move at high speeds, even the slightest mistake can cause serious damage and injury. If this occurs, the person injured should bring a vehicle defect claim.
A vehicle defect attorney must show several things when bringing a case based on a vehicle defect. The following is a quick outline of the factors needed to win a defective vehicle case.
The victim was injured or suffered losses.
You must have actually been injured by the defective vehicle in order to have a claim for damages in a vehicle defect liability case. “Close calls” do not count; a physical injury (or occasionally a mental injury) or property damage must have occurred. It doesn’t matter that you were driving around with this defect and something could have happened. Something must have actually happened in order for you to have a valid claim.
The product is actually defective.
You (with the help of your vehicle defect attorney) must show that your vehicle was actually defective. As mentioned, this is usually because of factory mistake, but it can also be an overall design mistake as well. In addition, the defect can also be related to a failure to warn. For example, if a car is particularly prone to flipping, then the car company needs to tell you that when you purchase the car (or as soon as they find out about it). Failure to tell the vehicle owner about the defect could lead to legal liability.
Sometimes this element can be difficult to prove, particularly if the theory that you are using is based on a design defect. Your experienced vehicle defect attorney can help walk you through his process and let you know what kind of information you will need to provide.
The defect caused the injury.
This element may seem straight forward, but it can get complicated. Even if you were using the defective vehicle at the time of the accident, that is not enough to show that the defect caused the accident. For example, if you were in a car accident where someone else hit you, that has nothing to do with the defect in your vehicle. However, if you hit someone else because your brakes failed, then you may have a vehicle defect case on your hands.
You were using the product as intended.
Vehicle manufactures can only be liable where the customer was using the vehicle as it was intended to be used. For example, if you drove your Smartcar into a nearby pool, the car manufacturer will likely argue that you were not using the car properly, so they are not liable for any damages that may have occurred, even if the injury was caused by a defect. A vehicle is being used properly if it is reasonable that the customer would use the car in that way, even if that isn’t its intended use. While driving into a pool may not be reasonable, driving through a large puddle certainly would be.
The variations of the elements will depend on your particular situation. An experienced, knowledgeable vehicle defect attorney will be able to examine all factors and help to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Call 972-774-9800 or contact us online for your free case evaluation today.