Protecting The Rights Of The Injured


How might an auto defect impact a car accident case?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

An auto defect can significantly impact a car crash victim’s personal injury case. Why? The presence of an auto defect – either affecting the victim’s vehicle or the vehicle of another motorist involved in the crash – introduces complex layers to the litigation process and potentially expands how a victim can pursue compensation for the harm they’ve suffered.

Auto defects, ranging from faulty brake systems and airbag failures to defective tires and malfunctioning steering components, can cause crashes and/or exacerbate the injuries sustained by a defective vehicle’s occupants. And yet, because many defects cannot be immediately perceived by motorists and passengers, these consequential realities may only be uncovered once a thorough investigation of a crash has been conducted by a skilled team. 

Legal and practical considerations

When an auto defect is identified as a contributing factor to a collision, a victim’s case may involve grounds upon which to file product liability claims against the manufacturer, designer and/or distributor of the defective vehicle or part. These claims may be made in addition to any negligence-based concerns that may, for example, have arisen as a result of reckless driving by another driver, etc. 

In a typically personal injury case, proving the defendant’s negligence is key to a plaintiff’s potential for success. However, the burden of proof in a product liability claim generally centers around the defectiveness of a product, regardless of the manufacturer’s negligence. This means that if the victim can demonstrate that the vehicle or a specific part was inherently defective and that this defect directly contributed to the crash or the severity of the injuries, the manufacturer could be held liable for damages. This legal approach is known as a “strict liability” theory. 

Pursuing a case that involves auto defects presents unique challenges. It requires a thorough investigation to establish the presence of the defect, its role in the crash and the causal link between the defect and the injuries sustained. Whether the defective product was or was not subject to a known recall can complicate matters further. 

Auto manufacturers and their insurers are typically well-equipped to defend against product liability claims. As such, it can be particularly important for crash victims who have been impacted by defects to seek legal guidance as proactively as possible. The complexities of these cases mean that a “DIY” approach is generally not wise when defects have played a role in collisions.