Manufacturer Defect: Collision Happened, Who Is Liable?

by Jeannetta on March 21, 2013

Air bags deployed

(US law) The average person likely uses thousands of products during any given day of their life. Unfortunately, these products are sometimes defective and can lead to injuries just by using them. Sadly, this holds true with motor vehicles as well, and when automobiles have manufacturer defects, the resultant accidents can be extremely disastrous. Because of the costly injuries that can result from these accidents, it’s important for individuals to understand who may be held liable for the manufacturer’s defect and any exceptions that may hinder them from recovering compensation.

Types of Defects

 When a manufacturer is negligent in its duty, it is important to realize that it’s often not as cut and dry as simply suing the manufacturer. Some possible defects might include:
  • Defective Door Locks: Door locks that malfunction and stop people from exiting a vehicle can be deadly after an accident.
  • Seat Belt Problems: If seat belts don’t restrain or release as they’re intended, they can allow a person to fly through the car or trap them in their seat.
  • Air Bags: Air bags that don’t deploy or have other defects can lead to serious injuries in an accident.

Who is Liable for the Accident?

When a manufacturer defect leads to a serious collision or injury, it seems a bit common sense that the manufacturer would be held liable. Every car owner should know, however, that it’s often not smart to simply go after the manufacturer. In actuality, anyone who participates in the chain of distribution could be held as negligent. This can include the manufacturer, the retailer and even a wholesaler. Whether you speak with a west coast courthouse clerk or a Maryland auto accident lawyer, they will tell you that determining who is at fault is a complicated process and one in which you will want to find an attorney to assist in sorting this out.This is because there are times when a manufacturer may not be held liable. For instance, an injury may occur after a manufacturer performs a vehicle recall but a retailer fails to send the vehicle back and ends up selling it. This situation is obviously complex, so an attorney would make sure to cover all bases.

Troubles a Victim May Encounter

As with many other personal injury lawsuits, there are several things that can lead to a victim not getting compensation that is fair for their injuries or losses. Laws will vary, for example, on who can be held responsible for an accident or injury when the vehicle is no longer being sold as “new.” A manufacturer could’ve performed their duty correctly by recalling a defective vehicle, for instance, but the original vehicle owner may have been negligent by not returning the vehicle during the recall.

In these cases, it would be more difficult to prove liability towards the manufacturer. This is another reason why an attorney will include multiple parties in a filed lawsuit. It’s also important to point out that a statute of limitations exists for product liability claims, including those related to motor vehicles. In Maryland, for instance, plaintiffs have three years to file both personal injury claims and product liability claims. This area of law can be complex, however, since courts may consider recall dates, knowledge of recalls and dates of injury when trying the case.

American citizens put their trust in numerous products every day, and they usually never let us down. Unfortunately, when motor vehicle manufacturers fail in their duty to provide people with safe vehicles, receiving compensation for the accident hardly makes up for the initial incident. It’s important for anyone who is injured or loses a loved one due to a vehicle defect to seek legal advice. The numerous nuances related to manufacturer defects require a complex understanding of the area, and unfortunately, the common layperson doesn’t have this type of knowledge.

Jeanetta Champion, a concerned citizen, provides this article to increase awareness of accidents caused by manufacturer defects. The Maryland auto accident lawyer firm of Price Benowitz LLP prides itself on helping victims of injuries sustained as the result of the negligent actions of another party from an automobile accidents. They have many years of experience and have won many cases, understand the difficulties of auto accident cases and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
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