Auto Defect Attorneys
Auto Defects Can Cause Serious Accidents
Despite the safety gains some automobile manufacturers have made in the past several decades, auto defects remain a major factor in car accidents that kill hundreds of people and injure thousands more every year in California. In many cases, victims are either uncertain or unaware that a defect may have caused their accident.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident and you suspect an auto defect may be at fault, it is vitally important to immediately contact a professional personal injury firm like Demas Law Group, which has a 20-year track record of investigating auto defect cases and winning automobile product liability lawsuits.
Common Auto Defects We Deal With
California product liability laws help put the ordinary citizen injured by an automobile defect on a level legal playing field with large corporations, which vigorously fight such claims. With an attorney that specializes in product liability issues, you have a better chance of winning fair compensation for your injuries. Below are some of the more common auto defects that cause injury accidents.
Seat-back failure occurs when the driver or passenger seat breaks near the hinge area and folds violently backward into a flat-out position. This most often occurs in rear-end collisions, resulting in serious and potentially fatal trauma to the spinal cord, neck and brain. Seat back failure can also occur with rear seats, which are often occupied by children.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates 46 million tires have been recalled for safety reasons since 1966. A defective tire can fail and cause serious and fatal injuries. The tread can become detached from the carcass, causing a blowout, one of the leading causes of rollover accidents. Defective tire sidewalls and beads can cause similar results. Loss of air pressure from a defective or improperly installed tire can lead to loss of control of the vehicle and a serious auto injury accident.
According to Consumer Reports, rollovers account for just 3 percent of all accidents but nearly one-third of all accident fatalities. In a rollover accident, the wheels leave the ground, the driver loses control and the vehicle flips. Occupants can be ejected from the car, suffer serious injuries from colliding with another automobile, or become trapped inside a burning vehicle. Mid-sized pickups and SUVs, with their narrow tracks and high centers of gravity, are far more likely to be involved in rollovers than other passenger vehicles. Surprisingly, there are no safety standards specifically for rollovers, but the manufacturers must account for the car’s performance in a rollover. If the car is deemed defective, the manufacturer can be held liable.
Roof failure, or roof crush, occurs most commonly in rollover accidents, and is one of the main reasons rollovers can be so deadly. As the roof collapses from the weight of the chassis and the force of the collision, support columns bend and windows break, allowing passengers to be ejected from the vehicle. The violent force of the roof collapsing on a passenger can cause serious head, neck and spinal trauma. The crushed roof may trap occupants in the car, exposing them to fire and other dangers. Many of the cars on the road today were built to federal roof strength standards that are now considered inadequate.
FAQs about Auto Defect Claims
1. What should I do if I suspect an automobile defect caused all or some of my injuries in a car accident?
How do you know if your car crash and/or injuries were caused by a design or manufacturing defect? You probably won’t know for sure without an investigation carried out by a qualified attorney, accident reconstruction specialist, and a knowledgeable mechanic or engineer.In order to prove that your car was defectively designed, you will have to prove three things before a court of law: that the part in question was defective; that it was sold to you that way, and that it caused your injury or accident.Because of this it is critical to keep the following as evidence:
- Any parts, instructions and labeling that came with your car
- Purchase documentation
- Your wrecked car
- Injury or death documentation
We highly recommend you contact a professional personal injury law firm experienced with handling automobile defect cases, such as the Demas Law Group. This is a specialty area of the law, so finding someone who has already successfully settled or won in court with these types of cases will give you peace of mind, and save you time and money.
2. What does product liability mean?
Product liability is an area of law that holds manufacturers, distributors and retailers responsible for injuries their products cause to the public. In California, the doctrine of “strict liability” applies in most automobile defect cases, which has greatly leveled the legal playing field for auto defect accident victims in our state and across the nation.Strict liability does not require proof of fault on behalf of the designer, manufacturer or seller. In a strict liability claim, the injured party need only show that:
1) the product was defective, 2) the defect existed prior to the manufacturer releasing the product, and 3) the defect caused the victim’s damages.The injured party may prove that a product is defective from any of three types of defects: design defects, manufacturing defects and “failure to warn” defects.
3. Isn’t it hard to take on a car manufacturer in a legal case involving defective auto
Car manufacturers have the financial wherewithal to fight auto defect claims vigorously, but as explained above, the doctrine of “strict liability” levels the legal playing field for ordinary citizens seeking just compensation for their injuries. Formerly, a plaintiff had to show willful negligence on behalf of the defendant, which can be extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive to prove in court. Today, the legal focus is on the product: why did the part fail, and who is responsible for the injuries that failure caused?Having said this, pursuing such claims requires resources and expertise. You need financial resources to investigate and press forward with a claim, as well as the expertise to properly research all of the facts and develop a solid strategy prior to commencing a lawsuit against the manufacturer. A case that is well researched and thoroughly investigated has much better chances of success against a large product manufacturer and their insurer. Hiring an experienced auto defect attorney is crucial in product liability cases against car manufacturers.
4. When should I contact a car defect lawyer? Do I need one?
As mentioned above, if you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a faulty car part, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Even if you were not injured in the accident, an attorney can help you with filing a complaint and guide you as to what steps you can take to prevent other people from getting injured by the same auto defect in the future. At Demas Law Group, the initial consultation with a personal injury attorney is always free of charge.
5. How much time do I have to file a claim for a product liability case in California?
In California, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a product liability lawsuit.
6. Does the government have to recall a product before I can file a liability claim?
No, in fact the process often works in reverse. Government recalls of defective automobiles, tires and other products often result after many people complain about or file claims against the same defective product. In many cases, the manufacturers themselves will recall products after receiving negative feedback from the public, before any government action is taken. Consider automobile companies like Audi in the 1980s and the Honda Prius in the past decade. Both companies denied their vehicles had fuel surge problems until enough people filed suit that it became undeniable. The bottom line is this: If you think your car or another car mechanically failed and caused an injury accident, you should immediately contact one of our California product liability attorneys at Demas Law Group.
7. Should I file a complaint with the government about an auto defect before I talk
to an attorney?
If you have been injured in accident due to an auto defect, you should not file a complaint with the government before speaking to an attorney. Any statements you make will be recorded and any inaccuracies can be used against you if a lawsuit is filed later on. If you become aware of an auto or tire defect before it leads to an accident, there are avenues to report it listed in the resources below.
8. Where can I get more information about filing a claim and receiving compensation for my suspected auto defect accident case?
Please visit our General FAQs
for answers to this and other questions.
Where can I find a list of products that have been recalled or have complaints against them?
Below, you can find government websites that allow you to input your product information—car model, make of tire, etc.—to see if other customers have filed complaints or if a recall of that product has been issued. We’ve also included more information on roof crush and rollover accidents, including a list of the seven most dangerous vehicles on the road today.
- National Highway Transportation Safety Administration maintains a database containing every automobile and tire recalled since 1966. All you need is the product information.