Imagine that you were in a
car accident that you did not cause. You would have to take the proper steps to prove
that the other driver was negligent in their behavior and pursue compensation
accordingly. While difficult, this is not an impossible task for an individual
to take on.
Now imagine that you were hurt in an accident caused by a
defective auto part, such as a
tire blowout or dangerous airbag. As the person who has been in sole possession of
your vehicle for quite some time before the incident, how can you prove
definitively that you were not the one who caused the product’s
defect? After all, it is not outside the realm of possibility that the
part had been tampered with or otherwise abused, intentionally or unintentionally.
The sheer volume of work conducted and expenses spent that would need
to go into that effort is unrealistic to expect from any one person. And
that is why, for most claims, the burden of proof is much more lenient.
Strict Liability in Defective Product Claims
personal injury claims centered on defective auto parts, and by extension all
dangerous consumer products, the manufacturer or seller of the part or product is held to a standard
known as strict liability. This means that someone hurt by their end product
can sue for damages
without necessarily proving negligence, as it is already assumed through other factors.
Strict liability applies when an auto part:
1.Is designed in such a way that it becomes unreasonably dangerous, either
immediately or through normal use and wear.
2.Causes an injury due to the defect while the product was being used normally.
3.Causes the injury without having been modified significantly.
In recent auto part defect news, Takata airbags in millions of vehicles
were found to be unreasonably dangerous, and the case meets all three
criteria for strict liability. The airbags used a chemical compound that
became unstable in humid environments or slight impacts, could explode
violently to cause shrapnel to harm drivers and passengers, and would
do so without any signs of tampering.
Manufacturers Will Defend Themselves
Despite the widespread news stories of defective auto parts causing serious
injuries and even wrongful deaths, auto part manufacturers remain a stubborn
group. In recent news,
Audi openly disagreed with a court’s ruling that their car seats were
dangerous by design; the seats were intentionally designed to collapse
during a rear-end accident, which multiple reports and studies concluded
could cause severe injury to either the driver or any one sitting behind them. (CBS News has a full article
here.) Plaintiffs in such cases should always prepare their case for court,
as manufacturers of defective products are probably doing the same.
If you have been hurt in a car accident and you believe a defective auto
part is to blame, let Dean Law Firm know during a
free initial consultation. Our Midland personal injury attorney has 20+ years of legal and trial
experience he can use to empower your case while effectively challenging
the claims of the negligent party.
Dial (432) 214-8125 to learn more.