Drivers and passengers expect the vehicle they use to function as intended, free from defects and designed with their safety in mind.
Vehicle manufacturers are required to ensure the products they make achieve a reasonable standard of safety and adhere to all manufacturing requirements.
Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death nationwide, but the fault does not always reside completely with drivers.
In 2019, nearly 15 million vehicles were recalled from the global market. Automotive defects can be the cause of an accident or can exacerbate injuries.
You should not have to be financially responsible for harm caused by auto defects that you have no control over.
Our experienced attorneys excel in representing product liability victims throughout Southern California.
We understand how to hold negligent product designers, manufacturers, and distributors accountable for their misconduct.
What is an Automotive Defect?
Motor vehicle defects refer to any faults in a motor vehicle or specific components of the motor vehicle.
These faults are a result of actions that occurred somewhere in the design, manufacturing, or distribution process.
The term extends to passenger cars, trucks, buses, vans, and motorcycles.
Common Vehicle Defects in Los Angeles
Virtually any part of an automobile can be defective—from safety components to functional necessities.
Here are some of the most common auto defects:
- Braking systems,
- Seat belts,
- Steering components,
- Fuel systems,
- Windshields and windows,
- Headlights and tail lights,
- Windshield wipers, and
- Electrical systems.
Malfunctions of any of these components could cause or worsen injuries from accidents.
A car defect lawyer can help you determine not only if an auto defect was the cause of your injuries or increased their severity but also which party should be held responsible.
Types of Product Liability Claims
In the aftermath of a vehicle accident, it can be challenging to determine what happened and what caused the accident.
An automotive defect attorney can help you determine the cause by conducting an independent investigation.
One big issue to consider is that there are multiple places along the distribution chain where the defect could have been created. Here are the three types of product liability:
Sometimes the defect is set in motion even before the product is produced. Flaws in the design exist even if the product is assembled correctly.
Design defects for automobiles concern multiple aspects of a car—from the materials used to weak points in the structure.
For example, if a vehicle is designed to be top-heavy, it may be prone to tipping over. Design defects generally impact the entire product line.
A manufacturing defect occurs when there is a problem in the production or assembly process. This may impact one product or an entire line of products.
For example, a car accident caused by a faulty fuel system may have resulted from an error when making or installing that specific system.
Failure to Warn
If a manufacturer fails to provide adequate warnings or instructions, this may give rise to a product liability claim.
This is not as common for auto defects but may be applicable in certain situations.
Manufacturers have a duty to ensure that consumers are aware of the appropriate use of the products they sell and any foreseeable dangers.
Determining the Liable Party
Understanding where the defect originated will help determine which party should be held liable for the damages you incurred:
- Vehicle Manufacturers—Companies like Ford, Dodge, and Subaru are typically what come to mind when most consumers think of vehicle manufacturers. These companies are responsible for automotive design and procuring parts and assembly. Automotive defect liability is often at least partially the responsibility of these manufacturers.
- Parts Manufacturers—The company designing the vehicle probably outsourced parts to specific manufacturers. If a specific part was created in a way that caused a defect, the manufacturer of the part may be held liable.
- Assembly Company—The company responsible for assembling the parts of the vehicle, or the entire vehicle, may be liable if the assembly was faulty.
- Wholesalers and Shippers—Transportation companies have a duty to not damage the vehicles they are delivering. Under certain circumstances, damage during transportation can cause the vehicle to malfunction.
- Dealership—A dealership may be liable if they make promises about the performance of a vehicle, cause damage to the vehicle, or have made alterations to the vehicle without telling the purchaser.
Your auto defect attorney in Los Angeles will be able to help you determine exactly which party is liable and should be a party to your product liability lawsuit.
In many cases, there is more than one responsible party. The amount of compensation you can receive may also depend on which parties are responsible.
Automotive Manufacturers Safety Standards
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the authority to issue vehicle safety standards under Federal Law 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301.
This authority also includes the ability to force a manufacturer to issue a recall when a vehicle has a safety-related defect.
In many cases, manufacturers will issue a recall without intervention from the NHTSA.
The NHTSA has established safety standards for parts of the vehicle that contribute to safe operation. These include brakes, tires, and lighting systems.
Performance requirements also exist for airbags and seatbelts to reduce fatalities and catastrophic injuries.
Crashworthiness and Auto Defects
The term “crashworthiness” refers to whether the manufacturer designed the vehicle and its components to be safe for any reasonably foreseeable purpose.
Unfortunately, the possibility of being involved in a collision is foreseeable. This means that the design should be reasonably safe in the event of a collision.
In a case involving crashworthiness, there are two collisions. The first occurs when the vehicle hits an object or another vehicle.
The second collision happens when the driver or passengers collide with the interior of the vehicle.
It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure that the design includes reasonable safety measures to minimize injury.
Choosing an Automotive Defect Attorney in Los Angeles
The client-focused team at Starpoint Law provides a thorough and realistic evaluation of your case.
We have a high success rate because we understand what it takes to win.
Unlike a lot of other law firms, we excel at providing open communication throughout the entire process, so you never have to wonder what is happening with your lawsuit.
Contact us to schedule your consultation with a car defects lawyer.