What are motor vehicle defects?
Motor vehicle defects are exactly that, defects that are found in your car, truck, motorcycle, boat, etc. Motor vehicle defects arise when an automobile is sent into the stream of commerce and contains some defective part that can often lead to injury.
What kind of defects are there?
There are two major types of defects that are found in motor vehicles, and all product liability. They are manufacturer defects and design defects.
Manufacturer defects come about when a, normally functioning, motor vehicle comes of the production line with a defect in its make-up. An example of this would be when a thousand automobiles are produced and one or two have defective transmissions.
A common manufacturer defect that leads to injury involves defective tires, either in their tread or the strength of the rubber.
A design defect is something a little more serious. A design defect occurs when the product that that manufacturer puts into the stream of commerce is naturally faulty and dangerous. Design defects have been a source of major litigation and recall in recent years.
The common design defects associated with motor vehicle defects that have been prevalent lately are unintended acceleration which resulted in the recall and suspension of production of a number of Toyota vehicles. There have also been rampant cases of rollovers in SUVs and design defects in tires have also been the cause of many injuries.
What is necessary for a claim?
In order to have a claim for a motor vehicle defect 3 conditions must be proved by the plaintiff. First, the plaintiff must show that the vehicle entered the stream of commerce in an “unreasonably dangerous” condition. Secondly, the plaintiff must show that injury occurred while using the product in the manner that it was intended. Thirdly, the plaintiff must show that the vehicle has not been altered in any way that would affect how the vehicle performs.
Probably the most famous design defect case in the history of American litigation involved the Ford Pinto. The Ford Pinto was manufactured from 1971 – 1980. In 1977 the Pinto came under fire over concerns that its fuel tank was defectively designed and could cause the car to explode upon being rear-ended in an automobile accident. In the wake of the controversy Ford refused to redesign the Pinto and instead decided to continue selling the Pinto under the idea that it would cost more to fix then a lawsuit. In 1972 a court awarded damages of $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $3.5 million in punitive damages after a car accident caused an explosion killing one and severely burning another. After years of controversy the Pinto was eventually recalled by Ford.
What do I do if I’m injured in a car accident?
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Once you have gone through treatment it is important that you seek an attorney specializing in personal injury and preferably motor vehicle defect cases.