Auto Products Liability
Automobile owners and drivers trust that the vehicles they rely on every day have been safely manufactured and thoroughly tested. If something goes wrong when a vehicle is on the road, a serious accident could occur. Sadly, manufacturers and distributors do not always uphold this responsibility, and millions of cars are recalled every year, often after consumers are injured or killed by the defective auto product.
Even the smallest automotive defect can cause a life-threatening incident, especially in a vehicle traveling at high speeds. In the case of an accident, the risk of injury can be increased exponentially if safety equipment, such as air bags, does not function properly. Some defective items may even pose an independent hazard to vehicle owners.
Dangerous Automotive Defects
It can easily be argued that a vehicle’s tires are among its most crucial components, as well as the most potentially dangerous. The fact of the matter is, defective tires can lead to serious accidents causing devastating injuries and even wrongful death. Whenever a tire blows out or loses its tread due to a defect, the driver can easily lose control, which can lead a vehicle to crash into another or even roll over, sometimes rolling several times. Vehicle rollovers can crush the roof, shatter safety glass, and cause violent motions that yield other injuries, even if vehicle occupants are buckled in properly. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the rates of accidents involving defective tires are much higher for trucks and SUVs. Tire defects of various types – especially blowouts and tread separations – have left behind a large path of devastation for drivers and their families throughout Texas and the rest of the country.
Another particular area of importance to a car’s structural integrity is its frame. When a car is struck, and especially in the instance of a rollover, the frame of the vehicle must withstand the impact to keep the passengers inside from being severely injured. If a roof is crushed or another part of a vehicle crumples under impact, the damages resulting from a car accident will be much more severe. Although federal regulations require certain measures of vehicle integrity be established before a car is sold to the public, some manufacturers may rush production or choose to overlook unfavorable crash outcomes, putting consumers at risk.
Car manufacturers are required to meet certain safety standards with every car they produce. Sometimes only after a vehicle is produced and sold does it surface that a part or function of the car might not work properly and puts drivers at risk. When this happens, either the manufacturer or NHTSA will issue a vehicle recall so the defective portion can be repaired or replaced. Recalls generally do not mean an entire car needs to be replaced. Car manufacturers are required to notify consumers when their car is subject to a recall. Most commonly, this is done through sending letters in the mail that include:
- a description of the defect
- the risk the defects poses to drivers and passengers
- whether the car is safe to drive
- potential warning signs
- how the manufacturer will fix the problem
- specific instructions for owners regarding the next steps they need to take
In most instances, the repairs can be completed at a local dealership and the manufacturer will pay for them. It is important that all instructions on the notice are followed to prevent any accidents.
Children can be particularly vulnerable in car accidents, but having the appropriate child seats can help prevent or reduce the severity of crash injuries. Car seat manufacturers need to uphold the highest manufacturing and design standards to protect young passengers, and most child seats do, but sometimes after a product is on the market, a defect or design flaw causes it to be recalled. Car manufacturers provide recall contact information for customers, including phone numbers, emails, and addresses, but car seat manufacturers do not provide the same information. This means when there is a car seat recall, it is much more difficult to inform customers. Regardless of car seat manufacturers’ ability to inform customers of recalls, they have a responsibility to produce products meeting certain federal safety standards. Parents can check for child seat recalls at any time on NHTSA’s website.
While tires, frames, and child seats are common product defects in cars, many other components can be defective, such as airbags, seatbelts, windows or windshields, seats, flammable parts, brakes, and ignition switches. It can be difficult to determine the liable party and take on intimidating companies after a defective auto part contributes to an accident. For instance, an airbag may be defective due to a poor design, flawed manufacturing, or inadequate testing performed before distribution. Victims are usually up against massive corporations, but an attorney with experience in this field of law can make all the difference in getting the compensation you deserve.
Auto Products Liability Lawyers
The past few years have seen record numbers of vehicle recalls across the country, with millions at risk due to defective parts. If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed due to a vehicle malfunction, the auto products liability lawyers at Adame Garza LLP can help. Contact us today to speak to an experienced Texas attorney and take the first steps in seeking compensation for your injuries.