If you have sustained injuries following an accident involving a defective
car, truck, SUV, ATV, motorcycle, or any other motor vehicle, you may
be able to make a product liability claim to recover damages or pay your
medical bills. Defects in the body or frame of a vehicle, its electrical
system, brake system, suspension, and other areas can cause serious problems
that could put the safety of drivers and passengers at risk. In recent
years, the types of cases involving defective vehicles have included SUVs
and ATVs prone to rollover, motorcycles that “wobble” at high
speeds, and cars sold with inferior tires that are prone to blowouts.
Types of Defective Vehicle Accident Claims
There are two types of defective vehicle product liability claims:
A vehicle or any of its parts may have manufacturing defects. In this case, the vehicle or certain of its parts have either been made
incorrectly or have been compromised during shipment, at the dealership,
or at a supply shop.
A vehicle may have a dangerous design that contributes to the likelihood
of an accident. Product liability claims in this category involve vehicles that are manufactured
properly, but still pose a danger due to an unsafe design (for example,
a tall SUV with an unreasonably high tip hazard). In many cases, these
dangers may not even be discovered until after the vehicle has been on
the market for some time.
What Kind of Proof Does My Claim Require?
In order to sue for any damages or medical expenses incurred following
an accident, a
strict liability claim can be made based on the following conditions:
- The vehicle, or one of its parts, presented a hazard by containing an “unreasonably
dangerous” defect that directly led to injury
- Injury was sustained while using the vehicle in the manner in which it
was intended to be used
The vehicle has not been
substantially (meaning, in a manner that affects the vehicle’s performance) modified
from the condition in which it was originally sold
It is not necessary to cite carelessness or negligence as a factor in your
case in the same way it might be necessary for a different kind of personal
injury claim. You must, however, identify any defendants that you plan
to name in your case. These potential defendants will typically come from
within the “chain of distribution” of your vehicle, and can
include anyone from the manufacturer, parts manufacturer, dealership,
supply shop, middle man or shipper, or, in certain cases, a used car dealer.
Even if the defective vehicle did not belong to you (for example, if you
had borrowed the vehicle, or if you were hit by someone else driving a
vehicle with a defect), you may still have a valid claim.
Remember that the parties you intend to sue have defenses of their own,
and they may try to shift the blame for your accident away from them and
onto you. With proper representation, you can rest assured that every
type of legal claim in your complaint will be used to protect you and
your rights as an injured consumer. Product liability cases can be complex
and often require the testimony of experts, so don’t leave the fate
of your case to chance.
Contact a San Jose personal injury lawyer from The Dunnion Law Firm today to begin
taking the first steps toward the resolution you deserve.