Car Accidents Caused by Manufacturer Defect
We all want to believe that all cars made pass all safety checks, and for the most part, they do. Most of our cars are made correctly, and we should not have any trouble driving them. However, just like in any other industry, mistakes are made, and in extreme cases, car manufacturers cut corners in the manufacturing process in order to save money in the long run.
Now normally, auto accidents are caused by lapses of human judgment, but occasionally, some accidents are actually caused by a manufacturer defect. In these instanced, victims would probably file what is known as a product liability lawsuit, a lawsuit filed against a manufacturer whose product causes harm even when used as specifically instructed by the manufacturer.
Almost any poorly constructed part of a car can cause an auto accident. However, certain parts of a vehicle are more likely to cause an accident than others. These parts include:
- Air bags: During an accident, these bags may not deploy, which could cause an injury. They can also deploy unexpectedly or when they were not supposed to, also causing an injury. In other cases, the force behind the air bag is much too hard and it actually injurers the person more than the accident itself.
- Seatbelts: A seatbelt that constantly comes unbuckled, especially during an accident, is no good to anyone. If it unhooks or unlatches itself during the course of an accident, a person can be thrown right through the windshield and incur serious injuries.
- Electrical systems: A faulty or a poorly wired electrical system can unexpectedly start fires and injure drivers without warning.
- Roofs: During a rollover crash, the vehicle roof is supposed to remain intact, but it collapses, it can seriously hurt the people inside.
Manufacturing and Design Defects
Some people like to use these two terms interchangeably, but actually there is a significant difference between the two. If you’re planning on filing a lawsuit, it is important that you know the difference.
A manufacturing defect means that something went wrong during the course of putting the vehicle together. Maybe a part was put on incorrectly or certain wires were not connected as they should be. In other instances, batteries on hybrid cars have been welded incorrectly, which caused combustions, and floor mats that were not put in correctly have shifted, causing a driver to unintentionally accelerate and cause a collision. Whatever the case, an accident occurs and someone is injured or property is damaged.
A design defect does not include the manufacturing process. A defect in a design means that everything was manufactured correctly, but the design itself had a serious flaw in it. A new pedal design might cause the accelerator to get stuck, preventing a driver from stopping, or a lack of steel around the battery of a hybrid car means that battery fluid can leak and cause an accident.
Misuse and Comparative Negligence
It is important to know that just because you may not have been using your vehicle to the exact specifications that the manufacturer lays outdoes not mean that you cannot sue for product liability.
All manufacturers are supposed to account for what is known as “foreseeable uses.” This includes both safe and somewhat unsafe driving practices. Manufacturers need to anticipate that you might drive at a speed that is higher than the limit, so the car should not explode if you reach 90 miles per hour. Additionally, you may need to stop suddenly to avoid a collision, so your brakes should be able to withstand the pressure and help you stop your vehicle.
In some instanced of manufacturer defect, both the plaintiff and the defendant will share what is known as comparative negligence. Sure, you shouldn’t have been going 90 miles per hour in a 60-speed limit zone, but the car still shouldn’t have exploded either.
Manufacturers have a duty to their buyers. They need to make their cars safe and drivable for all. Anything less is unacceptable.