The last decade or so has seen an exponential increase in recalls for auto defects. From faulty ignition switches to projectiles shooting out of dangerous airbags, these defects have caused serious injuries and deaths. If a defective auto part causes your injury, the manufacturer of that part could be held liable for your injuries.
Manufactures are strictly liable for accidents:
- If a car part is defective
- The defect causes a car accident
- The accident causes anyone (driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist) to be injured or killed due to the car accident
Car parts manufacturers can also be held liable based on negligence or a breach of the car warranty.
In addition to the manufacturer, the following businesses may also be liable:
- The car retailer
- Mechanics who worked on the vehicle
- Makers of the individual car parts who sold their part to the manufacturer or to a repair shop for use in the vehicle
There is no need to prove negligence in product liability cases. Experienced product liability lawyers work with product safety engineers and experts to show that the car part was improperly designed or was made incorrectly or with sub-standard parts. Car parts can also be defective if the instructions on use or maintenance or inaccurate. Defective repairs may also be the basis for a legal claim.
Many times, the federal government will issue a recall notice for a defective car part. The notice is usually based on complaints and lawsuits that the car part poses a danger to drivers and anyone who may come into the path of the car. The notice is usually issued directly to the manufacturer. Sometimes, manufacturers voluntarily issue their own recall notice.
Whether the recall is mandatory (due to a federal recall) or voluntary, manufacturers have a duty to notify existing owners of any cars with the defective part. The notice should also precisely indicate what steps the car owner should take. In some cases, the car owner will be directed to take the car to the manufacturer’s business or to a quality car repair shop, so repairs can be made. In other cases, the car owner will be told, in writing, that the car is not safe – and that they should seek to have the manufacturer pay for the lost value of the car.
A major difficulty in recall notice cases is who the notice should be sent to and how it should be sent. Generally, car retailers should be able to access their database of current owners, and make reasonable efforts to notify those owners. The manufacturers should place information about any recalls on their company website. Owners can also check the website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA should post notices of all recalls. Car owners should have their car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) ready before searching for a recall.
At Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, our Sevierville auto product liability lawyers understand the mechanics of filing a defective car part claim. We work with your doctors to show the defect caused your pain and suffering or caused a loved one to die. To discuss your claim so we can explain your rights and examine your car, call us at (865) 428-8780 or use our contact form to make an appointment. We proudly represent clients in Sevierville, Seymour, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the surrounding areas.