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Proving Fault in Defective Auto Part Liability Cases

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

In 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.