Auto defect lawsuits arise when a product manufacturer releases a defective product that poses unintended and unreasonable risks to end-users with normal use. When an auto manufacturer releases a defective vehicle or uses a defective part in the production, any affected vehicles will likely pose significant risks to the drivers who purchase those vehicles. If a defective vehicle causes an accident, anyone injured would have grounds for a product liability claim against the manufacturer. At Cogburn Law every skilled Las Vegas car accident attorney can provide superior representation for clients who have been injured in accidents caused by motor vehicle defects.
Three main types of product defects exist, and the plaintiff in a product liability claim must demonstrate that the product in question fits the definition for at least one type.
- There were design defects. This type of defect exists in the design of the product and therefore affects every unit produced using that design.
- There were production defects. This type of defect involves the manufacturing process and may only affect certain production lots.
- There were marketing defects. This type of defect refers to inaccurate or misleading advertisements, failure to include enough instructions for use or failure to include required safety warnings with a product.
Common Motor Vehicle Defects
A wide variety of auto defects can cause accidents and injuries. The following are some of the most common motor vehicle defects.
- Unintended Acceleration: When a car suddenly accelerates without the driver pushing the gas pedal, it can significantly increase the risk of an accident. As reported on ABC News, Toyota was forced to pay $1.2 billion in 2014 to avoid prosecution for putting sales over safety and covering up unintended acceleration safety issues.
- Faulty Airbag Deployment: Airbags can cause accidents when they suddenly inflate for no valid reason while the vehicle is in motion. They may also fail to prevent injuries, as they are intended to do when they fail to inflate in an accident. Airbags that activate with extreme force can cause serious head and neck injuries.
- Brakes or Power Steering Failure: Sudden failure of the brakes or the power steering when the car is in motion can lead to a serious crash. When it causes a collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian, this type of auto defect can result in serious injury to all involved.
- Seat Belt Failure: Seat belts are designed to save lives and help protect vehicle occupants from serious injury in a crash. When the seat belt has too much slack or fails to stay secure during an accident, it cannot adequately restrain the driver or passenger in a collision.
- Rollovers and Roof Crush: When support structures for the roof fail in a rollover accident, the roof can cave in on the occupants, causing neck injuries or paralysis. Defective vehicle design can make a rollover more likely to occur.
- Defective Tires: Tires that fail with only light to moderate wear may be defective. When a defective tire blows out at highway speeds, it can cause loss of control of the vehicle.
- Fuel System Failure: An improperly designed fuel system or a puncture in the fuel tank can cause a post-collision fuel-fed fire. When this occurs, the vehicle erupts into flames after an accident.
- Inadequate Side Impact Protection: Side-impact collisions can cause serious injuries. This is particularly true when the doors of the vehicle lack reinforcement to help withstand the force of impact.
How Does a Plaintiff Prove Negligence in an Auto Defect Accident Claim?
If a defective vehicle or part causes an accident, the plaintiff will not necessarily need to prove that the manufacturer was negligent in the production of the vehicle or part in question. To succeed with a motor vehicle defect claim, the plaintiff must prove that he or she suffered some type of damage through normal, intended use of the product. The plaintiff must also prove that the product in question was defective and the defect caused the claimed event.
Manufacturers of automobiles have a duty to design, manufacture, and market vehicles that are safe for consumers to operate. When manufacturers become aware of an auto defect, they are required to promptly notify consumers and remedy the problem. If they fail to do so, they may be potentially liable for injuries, damages, and death resulting from an accident caused by motor vehicle defects.
Motor vehicle defect accidents may involve more than one responsible party. If you have been involved in such an accident, a dedicated Las Vegas motor vehicle defect attorney can advise you on how to proceed with your claim.
What Is “Strict Liability” in Nevada?
In states that do not follow strict liability laws for product liability claims, a plaintiff must prove that the manufacturer acted negligently in some way that contributed to the defect in question. However, Nevada follows a strict liability law for liability claims. When negligence comes into play in a Nevada auto defect case, a defendant may need to prove it was not negligent in the production of the product in question, but Nevada’s strict liability law places full liability for damages caused by defective products on their manufacturers.
Under Nevada’s strict liability law for product defect claims, a plaintiff does not need to prove a defendant’s negligence, only that the product in question is indeed defective and caused the plaintiff’s claimed damages.
How Does a Plaintiff Prove Breach of Warranty?
Many types of warranties come with consumer products, but they generally fall under the categories of “express” or “implied” warranties. An express warranty is one provided clearly by the manufacturer in advertisements for a product, the product’s packaging, or the product’s instructions. Implied warranties vary from product to product, but there are implied warranties with virtually every consumer product that covers fitness for a particular purpose or appropriate merchantability. Proving a breach of the warranty requires establishing the terms of warranty provided by the manufacturer and then proving how the defective product failed to meet those terms.
Contact Cogburn Law
Product liability claims for auto defects can be extraordinarily complex. If you or a loved one suffered injuries and other damages from an auto defect accident, it is important to know your options for legal recourse and work quickly for the best chance at recovery. It is possible that legal actions are already in progress against the manufacturer in question in your own claim, and an attorney can help you make sense of your options for filing an individual claim or joining a class-action lawsuit already in progress.
Generally, it’s best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after any type of defective product-related injury. Handle your immediate medical issues first, and then contact a lawyer as soon as possible after you stabilize. A limited timeframe exists in which a plaintiff may file a product liability claim, so contacting an experienced Las Vegas personal injury lawyer right away to start building your case is important.