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Auto Product Liability: What to Know Before Filing a Claim

Do you want to file an auto product liability claim after being hurt in a car accident caused by a defect in your vehicle? While this is certainly the right move to eventually make, it is important not to rush into any legal decision too hastily. Before you file, review some basic information you should know about auto product liability cases.

What Kind of Defect Was It?

Every automobile defect is troublesome and potentially hazardous but they are not all the same in nature. Some defects may be by design, and others could be caused by the manufacturing process. The origin of the defect will likely steer your case and liability in one direction or another.

  • Design: Sometimes new features in automobiles are more dangerous than they are innovative. When an auto part is defective by virtue of how it was designed, it presents a danger from day one. For example: Takata’s recalled airbags used a chemical component that became highly volatile under certain heat and humidity conditions, causing explosions upon inflation that sent sharp shrapnel at drivers; the chemical compound should never have been used in the first place.
  • Manufacturing: The perfect automobile design can still become dangerous to drivers and passengers if a mistake happens on the assembly line. Manufacturing defects are unintended and hazardous departures from the original design of the vehicle. For example: Seatbelts are not installed in passenger seats for an entire month of production before anyone notices; all of the car’s completed in that series will have manufacturing defects.

Specific Details of Auto Product Liability Cases

In an auto product liability case, certain aspects exist that are somewhat unique to such cases. Understanding them beforehand can significantly increase your chance of winning a proper recovery.

  1. Proof of liability: You might know that a defect caused your accident or injury but do you know if it was a manufacturing or design defect? You will have to prove one over the other and bring your case against the liable party. Once it is determined to be a design defect, the case cannot be brought against the manufacturer, and vice versa.
  2. Eligibility: You do not actually have to be the owner of the defective vehicle to be an eligible plaintiff. If you were a passenger in your friend’s car and the defect caused an accident, you can still sue the liable party for damages despite never spending a cent on the auto product.
  3. Misuse: If you buy a microwave and stick a metal fork in there, any resulting fires or damage would be hard to pin on the manufacturer or designer; instruction manuals will warn against putting metal in a microwave, and this is considered common knowledge. But if you intentionally misuse an automobile, such as slamming on the brake pedal as hard as you can whenever you use it, the auto manufacturer may still be liable. They must create a vehicle with the idea that some abuse will be inflicted upon it, within reason.

Preparing Your Case with a Professional

You must also consider that an auto product defect is going to be linked, one way or another, to an automaker. You would be hard-pressed to find an automaker that does not have ample resources and attorneys on-hand to shut down your claim the moment it arises. If you want to even the scales and improve your chances of success, work with our Stuart product liability attorneys from Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC. Contact us today to get a free case evaluation and more information.