Who Can I Sue If My Car Accident was Caused by a Vehicle Defect?
The average price of a new vehicle has boosted in the last year alone. The typical consumer can expect to fork out just over 33,000 dollars for a car or truck bought from a dealership.1 With that level of a financial commitment, auto buyers should expect that the motor vehicles they are investing in are safely designed and carefully manufactured. However, poorly designed, cheaply crafted, and defectively manufactured car and trucks are produced each year. When these reckless and dangerous manufacturing choices result in vehicle defects that are responsible for auto accidents it is important to seek compensation for damages and injuries. There are three traditional parties that can be held liable for vehicle defects: the manufacturer of the defective parts, the manufacturer of the vehicle, and the vehicle’s dealer. In order to establish liability against these manufactures or dealers a driver can file a products liability lawsuit.
Since 1966 the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has utilized the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act to ensure manufacturers produce vehicles that adhere to safety standards and recall cars or trucks that are defective or do not meet those standards. This Act has been responsible for recalls on 390 million vehicles, 46 million tires, and 66 million pieces of motor vehicle equipment.2 Despite the number of recalls, accidents still occur due to defects that are not known, concealment of defects, or the untimely or postponed warnings to consumers.
Equipment and Parts Manufacturers
There are several different players along the line when manufacturing a vehicle. Each of these venders or component producers within the supply chain may bear some of the liability for a defective part if it contributes to an auto accident. According to NHTSA, common defects to vehicle components and equipment include steering systems that break suddenly causing loss of vehicle control, leakage to fuel system components, sticking accelerator controls, engine cooling fans that break, air bags that deploy under unexpected conditions, or wiring systems that increase chances of fire or loss lighting.
Theories of Liability
A products liability auto accident claim may be filed when a product was defective and caused damage or injury due to the design, manufacturing, or ineffective warnings. Common theories of liability include breach of warranty, negligence, strict liability, misrepresentation, or fraud. Breach of warranty can cover both an implied or express guarantee. An express warranty is a written or stated claim verses an implied warranty that exists because a law automatically applies to the product.3 Strict Liability does not require a showing of recklessness or negligence in design or manufacturing, but only that the product was defective and that the defect caused the injury.4 Liability in the form of negligence requires a showing that the dealer or manufacturer failed to exercise reasonable care. A final form of liability is misrepresentation or fraud which exists when there is an intentional concealment of a danger or marketing through misleading or false statements.5 Each of these theories of liability can be used to seek compensation from a manufacturer or dealer of a defective vehicle or component.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you have been in a car accident that was directly caused by a vehicle defect then the responsible parties such as the manufactures or dealers may be held liable. One of the first steps is to discuss the circumstances of your accident with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help you to determine what claims should be filed and protect your rights and interests as a victim of a car accident. To contact an auto accident attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm Law Firm at 314-735-8100.
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If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact The Bruning Law Firm today. We provide the comprehensive, professional legal representation you deserve at a time when you need it most.
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