Car mechanical failure and product liability law
Any car accident lawyer will tell you that most motor vehicle injuries and deaths are caused by careless and negligent drivers, but there are other times when those injuries and deaths are caused by components of the motor vehicles without the fault of a driver. When that happens, the law of product liability controls most injury or wrongful death lawsuits that might be filed.
Under the law of product liability, any entity involved in the process of manufacturing a dangerously defective product that places it in the stream of commerce and into the hands of a consumer can be held liable if the consumer is injured or killed by it. A product can be dangerously defective in one of three ways. Those would be:
- Design defects from the drawing board that affect every item in the product line
- Manufacturing defects that occur during the manufacturing or assembly process that only affect a few items of a specific product
- Marketing defects involving labeling, instructions or insufficient safety warnings
There are times when dangerously defective components are found faulty in the context of motor vehicle crashes. Many personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits have been filed in connection with those. Here are some examples.
GM ignition switch defect litigation
Since sometime in 2004, GM was aware of the fact that its Chevrolet Cobalt had an ignition switch issue that could spontaneously shut down a Cobalt’s engine while also shutting down the car’s power steering, power brakes and airbag system. GM finally issued a recall on the ignition switches in early 2014. At least six deaths were attributed to the ignition switches in that interim. GM claims that it only knows of 22 other crashes that might have been related to the ignition switch.
Takata makes more motor vehicle air bags than any other manufacturer in the world, and it makes them cheaper than most manufacturers too. It has been alleged that 11 people have died, and another 180 were injured when Takata airbags were deployed. Drivers and passengers were sprayed with metal shrapnel from the covers that housed the air bags. Takata entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in late 2016. It agreed to pay $1 billion in fines and restitution to both auto manufacturers and victims. Three Takata executives have been indicted. They’re accused of knowing about the airbag housing defect for more than 10 years. Hundreds of civil lawsuits remain pending. The company has recently sought protection under bankruptcy proceedings.
Keyless fob carbon monoxide cases
Lawsuits have been filed against several automobile manufacturers that allege a design flaw in keyless fobs. They’ve led to at least 13 documented carbon monoxide deaths. Claimants are alleging that although the keyless ignition system allows them to remotely start their vehicles, there’s nothing to turn them off if carbon monoxide begins accumulating at dangerous levels. That has allegedly resulted in people leaving their cars running in their garages and filling their homes with the lethal and odorless killer. None of the cases have gone to trial yet.
If you have been injured by what you believe was a dangerously defective product, or if a family member died as a result of using one, remember that product liability laws protect you. Don’t give that defective product or component back to the manufacturer. You’ll be giving the most important piece of evidence in your case away. Contact us first for a free consultation and case evaluation with an experienced, aggressive and successful car accident lawyer. No legal fees are due unless we obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf.
Tate Law Group’s mission is to protect people from the carelessness or negligence of others. Everyone has a constitutional right to freedom from personal injury or death caused by the greed or irresponsibility of others. Call us if you think you might need a car accident lawyer or other legal representation for issues of personal injury.