Holding Manufacturers Accountable for Their Products
While there are a lot of reckless and distracted drivers on the road, there are also plenty of people who drive responsibly. You can follow all traffic laws, go the speed limit, use your signal, and respect others on the roads around Fort Collins, and still have your brakes fail or your tire explode. We all rely on the manufacturers of our vehicles and parts. When defective auto parts are allowed on the market, innocent people will suffer. When a manufacturer places profits above the public’s safety, then they need to pay when people are injured.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident due to a defective auto part, call the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, at (970) 212-4777. Schedule a free consultation with an experienced Fort Collins auto defect attorney and learn your options.
How Defects Contribute to Accidents
There is always a chance that a part of a vehicle can suddenly stop functioning, and few of us are mechanically inclined enough to notice it. Some parts will not cause a disaster if they are defective – such as the radio or floor mats – but other parts are vital to the driver and passengers’ safety. Typically, auto part defects contribute to accidents in two ways: increasing the likelihood of an injury or increasing the likelihood of an accident.
With the first, the defective part may not have directly caused the accident, but it likely made it more dangerous than it should have been. For example, it is well-known that SUVs can rollover in an accident, often leading to the roof collapsing. Manufacturers should test the strength of the roof and add support bars to ensure that these horrible events do not occur, as they can often be fatal.
In contrast, other auto defects can directly cause the accident. This can be seen in the 2009-2011 Toyota recalls, which were caused by accelerators that stuck to the floor. In these tragic incidents, the accident would not have occurred if Toyota had identified the issue before the vehicle had gone to market. Thus, plaintiffs were able to hold the company liable for the defective component and their injuries.
Other common types of defects include:
- Brakes – Few parts of a vehicle are more important than the brakes. This includes the brake pads and all other components involved in making sure a car can stop safely. When brakes fail, a driver loses control and must swerve or strike an object in order to stop.
- Airbags – Airbags are the last defense for safety, and they need to be reliable. Airbags that deploy too fast can cause serious injuries, and ones that activate without an impact can cause a dangerous collision.
- Tires – When defective tires are placed on a vehicle, a blowout can occur at any time, sending the vehicle out of control or resulting in a rollover.
- Seatbelts – Proper seatbelt design saves countless lives every year. Defective seatbelts, however, can fail to restrain someone in a collision, or cause serious internal injuries during a crash.
- Flammable Components – High heat and flammable chemicals are often found inside vehicle engines. Other parts of a vehicle should be flame-retardant to help prevent explosions, fires, and serious burns to passengers.
If an auto manufacturer finds a defect, they should issue a recall so drivers can have the defective parts replaced by ones that function properly. Sometimes a manufacturer will choose to do this; other times they will issue a recall after pressure from the federal government. However, even if the manufacturer is not aware of the defect, they can still be found liable if their products cause an accident or contribute to your injuries.
Who Is at Fault for Defects?
A vehicle goes through many stages before a driver gets behind the wheel. First, its overall design must be developed, as well as the design of the individual parts. After that, each element must be manufactured and put together into the final vehicle. Throughout both these process, manufacturers and designers should implement quality control tests to determine if there are any defective components or design errors that could injure an occupant.
Once the vehicle has been completed and tested, if it is approved to go to market, it will be shipped out to dealerships across the country. In addition, replacement parts and components will be sent to dealerships and retailers. These logistics are often handled by major trucking and shipping companies, who must be careful while transporting vehicles. If a vehicle is damaged during transportation, it could affect how it handles on the road and contribute to a collision.
Lastly, once a vehicle reaches a dealership, the managers are responsible for ensuring it is safely stored and maintained until it is sold to a customer. In addition, if the vehicle is taken for a test drive and damaged, the dealership is responsible for repairing the vehicle and notifying future customers that was damaged. Otherwise, they could be found liable for an accident.
Typically, when investigating an auto defect case, the following major parties can be found liable:
- Transportation Companies
How to Win a Product Liability Case
Filing a successful product liability claim after an auto accident requires showing that the auto defect itself contributed to your accident or injuries and that one of the above liable parties is responsible for it. Your attorney may need to review transportation records, maintenance reports, test reports from the NHTSA or IIHS, and subpoena several other records from the manufacturer.
But identifying who caused your accident can be a difficult and complicated process, as defects may be overlooked in the initial accident report. Accident victims are often advised to avoid repairing or scrapping their vehicles until an accident reconstructionist, automotive expert, or attorney can inspect it. If a defective component is lost during repairs or thrown it, it can be almost impossible to prove that it was the cause of your accident.
In addition, whether a manufacturer knew about a defect or didn’t test the product enough, you will have to prove that the product was “unreasonably dangerous” in order to be awarded compensation for your injuries. Holding a big corporation responsible, however, involves filing a civil claim, which can require hundreds or thousands of hours to research, argue, and prove. But not just any attorney can successfully pursue an auto defect case, and you will want to select one who has extensive experience representing auto accident victims. At the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we can provide the exact legal representation you need to hold the manufacturer who injured you liable for your injuries.
Call a Skilled and Knowledgeable Fort Collins Product Lawyer Today
Drivers and passengers should be able to trust that their vehicle will operate smoothly on the road and that safety features will protect them if they are involved in an accident, but that is often not the case. Not all auto defects are as public and well-known as the Toyota recalls, which is why most accident victims do not think to look out for them when reviewing their own cases. But if your injuries or accident were caused by a defective auto part, then you deserve proper compensation from the negligent party who allowed that part to become damaged.
In order to get that compensation, you will need to work with an experienced legal team that is not afraid to dig into the details of your case and consider all options. That is why you should look no further than the Tenge Law Firm, LLC. With more than 30 years of experience, our lead attorney has won numerous settlements and jury verdicts for his clients. After thoroughly investigating your case, he can go toe-to-toe with any major insurance company or manufacturer to get you the compensation you deserve. Before dealing with an insurance company or filing a claim with the manufacturer, make sure you have an experienced Fort Collins car accident attorney to represent you. Call the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, at (970) 212-4777 to set up a consultation now.