Was Your Auto Accident Caused By a Defect or Flawed Design?
In 2010, Toyota was forced to recall nine million vehicles because of a sticky gas pedal. Thirty-one people died as a result of their vehicle speeding up on its own, while millions of others simply had a good scare. The company tried to blame bad driving, and then an innocent floor mat, before owning up to the design defect and recalling all vehicles affected. Not only did the company have to pay out over $1 billion in settlements for consumers who had been injured, but also, the company was sued for an additional $1.2 billion for “interfering with investigations.”
In 1996, 7.9 million Ford vehicles were recalled for faulty ignitions. Vehicles made between 1988 and 1993 possessed an ignition that would start on its own, short out the electrical system, and melt the entire steering column. Lucky individuals affected by this defect simply found a melted steering column in their car the next morning; not-so-lucky individuals had their houses burn down as a result. Fortunately, despite major property damage, nobody died as a result of this spooky fault.
Not all vehicle defects are so dangerous or scary as the Toyota defect of 2010, or the Ford fault of 1996. However, when a car defect does result in an accident or injury, the victim may be able to sue the car manufacturer for damages.
Types of Car Defects
If you were injured in a car accident that was the result of a car defect, you could file a claim for certain types of defects, including:
- Design Defect, which is a flaw inherent in the design of the part, rather than the actual production of the part. If the part was made according to the blueprint, but the design was just inherently dangerous, then the court would look into whether or not the manufacturer should have reasonably foreseen the danger that the part would cause. If it is determined that yes, the manufacturer should have foreseen the danger, then the victim may be able to sue the manufacturer on the grounds of a faulty design.
- Manufacturing Defect, which means that the fault occurred in manufacturing, and the design itself is not faulty or dangerous. It is more difficult to win a product liability claim on the premise of a manufacturing defect, as the burden of proof lies on the plaintiff to show that the error in assembly directly contributed to his or her accident. In many instances, several tests must be run to determine whether or not the part in question was actually defective.
Proving Your Product Liability Claim
In order to win a product liability claim against a car manufacturer, you must prove specific factors:
- That you were injured or suffered one or more losses;
- That the vehicle involved in your case—whether your own or another driver’s—was defectively designed or manufactured; and
- That the manufacturing design or defect was the direct cause of your injury.
Typically, a plaintiff’s case comes down to proving the final element: that it was the defect or design that was the cause of the accident, and not poor driving or poor vehicle maintenance.
Obtain the Legal Help of a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are the victim of a car defect or faulty design, you may be entitled to compensation for any injuries sustained. Consult with a Tampa product liability lawyer to receive an accurate assessment of your case. At The Pendas Law Firm, our Tampa lawyers have handled countless product liability cases, and can help you determine whether or not you have a case worth fighting for. For aggressive and effective legal representation, contact our Tampa law firm at 1-888-LPENDAS today.
The Pendas Law Firm also serves clients in the Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Daytona, Bradenton, and Fort Lauderdale areas.