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Can You Sue a Car Manufacturer if Your Vehicle is Defective?

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defective seatbelt car crash

As many have learned from the recent slate of motor vehicle recalls, even the largest and most successful car manufacturers will occasionally produce defective vehicles. While sometimes these defects can be minor or cosmetic in nature, other times they can pose unreasonable risks to drivers and passengers, occasionally causing injury or death. In these cases, it is important to understand what kinds of legal rights an injured person has. 

About Product Liability Law

These cases fall under the realm of product liability, the area of law that addresses the situation when a product causes a user injury. Cases can range from children injured by dangerous toys to people burned or electrocuted by faulty electronics.

Car accidents may also be covered under product liability law if it can be proven that the accident was caused by a defectively designed or manufactured vehicle.

Types of Auto Defects

In the past, victims have brought product liability claims against vehicle manufacturers for problems such as vehicles prone to rolling over (specifically SUVs) and cars that have electronic problems that can spark fires and explosions.

While some of these lawsuits were specific to the actual car involved in the accident, meaning it was a manufacturing defect, others addressed a larger issue that was inherent in that type of car, meaning a design defect.

Common types of vehicle defects include:

  • Faulty brakes
  • Defect tires
  • Airbag defects
  • Defective seatbelts
  • SUV rollovers
  • Sudden and unexpected acceleration

Liability in Auto Defective Cases

When a motor vehicle has a defect that injures someone, there are a number of parties that may be liable for those injuries. The most typical is the manufacturer that is responsible for creating the actual vehicle. Additionally, a parts manufacturer may be sued if the defect involved a specific part of the vehicle, such as the tires or the airbags. Further, a plaintiff may sue the car dealership that sold the vehicle to him or her.

After an accident caused by an automotive defect, it might be possible to file a claim under product liability law. Speak with a knowledgeable North Carolina personal injury lawyer at Lanier Law Group, P.A. to learn more about your options.

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