Having an automobile is a necessity in today's world, and as consumers, we expect that our cars are designed to keep us safe. We spend a lot of time in our vehicles and carry precious cargo as we put a certain amount of trust in the vehicle's manufacturer. Sadly, when car manufacturers fail to protect a consumer due to an act of negligence, whether in design or manufacturing, the result can be serious injuries and broken lives.
If you believe that you or a loved one may be the victim of a defective auto product, get in touch with our Dallas product defect attorney. At The Lenahan Law Firm, we have built a "dream team" so that people suffering from car accident injuries can have access to our top-quality counsel and extensive resources to improve your chances of getting full compensation for the injuries you have suffered.
Each individual attorney at our firm has a stellar background in their unique field. With a former insurance attorney and award-winning personal injury attorney, it is easy to see how our firm has achieved many high-value settlements and verdicts for our personal injury clients. If you have been injured and need professional legal counsel, call our firm at (214) 295-1008 so we can speak with you today.
"...my wife & I were involved in a single vehicle wreck, caused by the mechanical failure of aftermarket parts...Marc was excellent to work with. More importantly, after the award, Marc continued to work on our behalf, to be sure we got to keep the money..."
- Former client
Cars are incredibly complex machines. They require many different parts to run properly and safely, as well as constant maintenance. A good mechanic can make sure that your car runs perfectly for years. Unfortunately, there are times when your mechanic can’t do a thing to help you, because the issue your car is having has nothing to do with typical wear and tear, but rather, from a manufacturing defect. There are many kinds of auto defects, including:
- Poor roof structural integrity
- Weak and defective tires
- Leaky fuel tanks
- Malfunctioning brakes
- Broken seatbelts
- Non-deploying airbags
- Faulty accelerators
There have been many cases of these sorts of defects seriously injuring, or even killing, drivers and passengers. For example, the 2009-2011 Toyota recalls were due to sudden, unintended accelerations, as well as defective brakes. This caused people to lose control over their vehicles altogether, as they could not prevent their cars from speeding into objects or other vehicles.
When car manufacturers don’t do their job and properly test cars to see if they will run safely, they put thousands of lives at risk. That is why proper tests must always be performed before a car is let out into the market.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular as people look for ways to reduce emissions caused by internal combustion engines. But there is a serious threat of fires caused by the lithium batteries that power these vehicles.
EV batteries can spontaneously erupt into flames. This may cause death or injury to EV owners, other drivers, and people living in structures that burn down.
To be feasible, EVs require batteries that generate a tremendous amount of energy in a small space. EV batteries may catch fire spontaneously or after a crash. Once these batteries start burning, they are very difficult to put out.
Due to a process called thermal runaway, the flames in a lithium battery fire actually feed on themselves. These fires burn at almost 5000 degrees Fahrenheit, so hot that they will actually melt asphalt. It takes about 25,000 gallons of water for firefighters to extinguish an EV battery fire, and EV’s batteries have been known to reignite days later.
EV fires may be caused by the following:
- Manufacturing defects
- Design flaws
- Automobile crashes
- Short circuits
- Physical damage
- Wet/humid conditions
- Charging issues
Sometimes small things can have big consequences. For example, the faulty auto part that caused your accident may be a circuit in the anti-lock braking system (ABS) that malfunctioned and made your vehicle skid into a tree. Or maybe it was something larger, like tires with defective tread.
There’s no excuse when manufacturers and design companies fail to properly test products that impact the safety of millions of people. If you are harmed in an automobile accident, you may suffer injuries that require extensive medical treatment, causing you to miss a lot of work. And severe injuries such as spinal cord damage, loss of a limb, or traumatic brain injury (TBI) could seriously diminish your quality of life and prevent you from earning a living.
A Dallas auto defect injury claim filed by your attorney will include the following types of damages:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced earning capacity
- Medical devices
- Diminished quality of life
- In-home nursing care
- Physical therapy
- Wrongful death
When designing a new vehicle, manufacturers will put it through rigorous tests to make sure that all systems are operating as they should. During these tests, the design may be changed, features may be added or taken away, and experts are able to determine if the vehicle is road safe or not. There are many different defects that are tested and watched for during these tests, but the most important ones include:
- Airbag deployment
- Safety of the child seat feature
- Passenger restraint systems
- Ejection of occupants
- Fuel systems
- Glazing of windows
- Roof crush safety
- Rollover occurrences
If these potential defects are not tested for, or the test results are manufactured, then it is very possible, if not likely, that thousands of people will be injured or killed due to the car manufacturer’s negligence. These tests are key in making sure that a car’s design can hold up against a collision and not malfunction during normal operation.
It is important to remember that drivers are expected to get into at least one or two accidents in their lifetimes. No matter what causes an accident, the systems of the car should still perform as expected. If they don’t, and you became more injured as a direct result, then that is still considered an auto defect and you may be able to hold the auto manufacturer liable for any damages that their cars cause.
Cars pass through many hands and locations before finally being sold to the consumer. That means determining liability when it comes to auto defect cases can be difficult. An in-depth investigation is often needed to figure out which party is liable for your injuries. But in our experience, some of the most commonly liable parties include:
The car manufacturer: This is the most obvious liable party, as they are the ones who built your car. If a car manufacturer released a car before it was given the proper tests, or they released a car knowing it was defective, then they should be held liable for the damages they cause.
The parts manufacturer: Cars experience a lot of wear and tear, and that means certain parts will often be replaced over time. If a replacement part was defective, then the manufacturer of that part may be responsible for the damage caused.
The dealership or supply shop: If the group or person who sold you the car or a part damaged the vehicle or part, then they may be the liable party in an auto defect accident. In addition, not all defects happen because a part was built wrong, but rather because the part was installed incorrectly or negligently damaged.
The shipping company: Cars have to be moved all around the country and across the ocean to get to their dealerships or new owners. If the car was damaged during the shipping process, and that damage causes an accident, then the group responsible for the car’s transportation may be liable.
When it comes to auto defect claims, getting a successful settlement may not be easy. Car manufacturers have no interest in paying out large sums to those injured by their vehicles, no matter how much the victims deserve proper compensation. This means that they will have teams of highly skilled lawyers to try to tear your claim apart. When filing a claim against a car manufacturer company, you should:
Provide evidence of the flaw or defect: After your accident, take photos of the scene and speak to any witnesses. The manufacturing company may try to argue that the cause of the accident was not a defect, but some action on your part. Photos and witness statements can help refute that. You should also be sure to preserve the car, even if it is completely totaled. The car itself will be the best evidence that a defect took place.
Get a second opinion: Speaking of the car, you should also have a skilled mechanic take a look at the vehicle. The mechanic can examine the car and determine if there was indeed a defect in one of the car’s systems that caused the accident.
Provide evidence of a breach of warranty: A vehicle, as well as the parts that make up the vehicle, often has a written or implied warranty. This warranty dictates how long the parts should reasonably last. For example, a twenty-year-old car that becomes involved in an accident due to a defective part is unlikely to be considered the fault of the manufacturer. That car lasted as long as could be expected, and the defect was likely due to the vehicle’s age. But a car that experienced a defect within six months may still be within its warranty. As such, the manufacturer may be held liable.
Speak with an attorney: For an auto defect case, you are unlikely to win if you go it alone. Car companies have teams of attorneys that they are happy to unleash on you, so long as it means they don’t have to pay out a settlement. Working with a skilled and determined attorney at Lenahan Law Firm to get the compensation you deserve may be the best way to ensure that you have filed a successful auto defect claim.
When negligent auto companies allow defective or malfunctioning vehicles to be sold to consumers, the outcome can be serious car accidents, catastrophic injuries and tragic cases of wrongful death. Facing a serious injury can be an emotionally and physically taxing experience that no one should have to experience. But you have the ability to retain high quality, experienced counsel to help you with your auto product liability claim.
In some cases an accident may be caused by a defective auto part or the failure of a critical safety component such as tires, brakes, airbags, seatbelts or others. It is important to speak with an auto product liability attorney in Dallas immediately so that liability can be established through a full investigation of the accident and the vehicle.
Contact us by calling (214) 295-1008 so that our attorneys at The Lenahan Law Firm can protect your right to the compensation you deserve.
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