When a driver or passenger gets into a vehicle, they expect the vehicle to operate as designed and provide protection in the event of a car accident. Unfortunately, when there are defects in the design or manufacturing of the vehicle, it can put drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk. When someone is injured in an accident caused by a vehicle defect, the car company may be liable for damages.
If you are involved in an accident and suspect the accident was caused by a vehicle malfunction or defect, talk to your Georgia product liability attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will be able to investigate the accident, identify who is responsible, and get you compensation for your losses.
Common Motor Vehicle Defects
There are so many parts that make up modern cars, including many computer components throughout the vehicle. Any one of these parts could have defects that could increase the risk of an accident. Some common areas of motor vehicle defects include:
- Tire defects,
- Brake defects,
- Seat belt design defects,
- Floor mat defects,
- Seat recline defects,
- Steering defects,
- Electrical defects,
- Airbag defects,
- Suspension defects,
- Self-driving and autopilot defects,
- Wheel defects,
- Transmission defects, and
- Exhaust defects.
Individuals often hear about vehicle defects on the news after a number of accidents or injuries. When there are multiple accidents caused by a vehicle defect, it may be subject to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall. However, a manufacturing defect can affect a single vehicle and the driver may have no warning that the vehicle is dangerous and defective.
Product Defect Claims for Motor Vehicles
In a product liability claim, consumers may be able to file a lawsuit against the dealers, manufacturers, or vendors for defective products that cause injury or harm. Most product defect claims involving motor vehicle problems involve a design defect, manufacturing defect, or warning defect.
Vehicle Design Defects
In a design defect, a product has a defective design that makes the product inherently dangerous. For example, in designing a new seat belt for a vehicle, the design puts the seat belt retracting system in contact with a metal bolt. Over time, the seat belt is worn away by the friction with the metal, making the seat belt prone to snapping in an accident. This seat belt system was dangerous as designed by the car company. The car company should have been aware of the issue during the design and testing of the product, and may be liable for any damages caused by the defect.
Vehicle Manufacturing Defects
A manufacturing defect usually involves a problem during the manufacturing process. For example, a new airbag design uses corrosion-resistant materials to keep the airbag operational, even when exposed to high humidity environments. The manufacturer wants to save money, and does not use the more expensive corrosion-resistant materials. Over time, the parts of the airbag system begin to corrode because of the humid environment, causing the airbag to explode without warning, injuring drivers and causing accidents. The vehicle and airbag manufacturer may be liable for any damages caused by the defect.
Vehicle Warning Defects
A failure to warn defect generally involves failing to warn users about unknown or hidden dangers that are not obvious based on the product's use. For example, a vehicle has sensitive wiring underneath the center console cup holder. If the wiring is exposed to liquids, it could short out the wiring, causing the vehicle to lose electricity. A driver spills their cup in the cup holder which causes the wiring to short and results in a car accident. The vehicle company should be aware of the risk of spilling liquids directly beneath a cup holder and may be liable for failing to warn drivers about the risk of spilling a liquid near the cup holder.
Filing a Motor Vehicle Defect Lawsuit in Georgia
Unlike other personal injury claims, the injury victim in a product defect generally does not need to show that the defendant was negligent. There are so many individuals and companies involved in designing, manufacturing, and selling vehicles that it would be difficult for the injury victim to know who was responsible for the accident.
Generally, the injury victim needs to show that the product was defective as designed or manufactured when it left the manufacturer, the product was used as intended, and the defect caused the injury. Talk to your Georgia vehicle defect lawyers about your case and what options you may have for compensation.
Damages in a Vehicle Defect Lawsuit
Under Georgia product liability laws, the parties responsible for causing injury or harm may be liable to the injury victim for damages. The individuals or companies liable in a product defect lawsuit may have to compensate the injury victim and/or the victim's family for losses caused by the defect. Damages in a product liability lawsuit can include:
- Medical bills,
- Future medical care,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of income potential, and
- Pain and suffering.
Contact Atlanta Motor Vehicle Defect Attorneys Today
At The Kaplan Firm, PC, our attorneys have decades of experience fighting for our clients who have been victims of product defect injuries in Georgia. There is a limited time to file your accident claim. If you wait too long, your claim may be denied, leaving you without compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and lost wages. Contact us today at our Roswell, Georgia location for a free initial consultation.