According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), the year 2019 saw more than 400,000 reported auto accidents. The organization noted various crash types, from pedestrian crashes to hit and runs. But there’s one question they don’t answer: When is the car manufacturer at fault for an auto accident?
Automotive Defects and Car Accidents
The car manufacturer is at fault if their product is defective. In the case of an auto accident that may be the fault of the vehicle itself, you’ll need to know what kind of defective products hold weight in court. This is just as important whether you’re dealing with a rideshare accident or a crash from your personal vehicle.
Here are three different types of defective products from a car manufacturer that you can consider:
1. Design defects: This is a defect that’s rooted in the design of the product. It includes any design flaw that makes the overall vehicle unsafe for driving.
2. Manufacturing defects: The vehicle’s design may be just fine, but perhaps the manufacturing is flawed. In this case, you’re dealing with a manufacturing defect, which means the vehicle has been made unsafe for driving as a result of manufacturing that doesn’t reach the required or expected standards.
3. Warning or label defects: Even without a design or manufacturing defect, the car manufacturer may still be at fault. If there are dangers in the product, the automaker is required to provide adequate warnings or labels. Without this, they have failed to warn the driver of risks associated with product use, therefore making them liable for the accident.
These defect categories can materialize in a few different ways. For instance, you may experience defects in your tires, airbags, steering system, fuel system, computer, seats, wiring or seatbelts.
Car Manufacturer Liability
When you want to hold a car manufacturer liable for a defective product that resulted in an auto accident, you’re aiming for one of three types of liabilities:
1. Strict: Strict liability makes the car manufacturer at fault for any damages resulting from their product’s defect, whichever type of defect it may be. You don’t need to prove negligence or even defect awareness. Rather, it’s enough that the product caused damage (like injury) to infer strict liability.
2. Negligence: If a car manufacturer proceeds with design, manufacturing or otherwise while knowing the product may cause harm, they are negligent. Proving this gives way for negligence liability.
3. Breach of warranty: Vehicle manufacturers include both implied and explicit warranties when selling their products. If you can prove that the vehicle’s defect actually breaches either of these warranty types, you can fight for breach of warranty liability. Today, this is the least common type of liability you’ll see in the court.
If you can prove any of these liabilities in Florida court, you may receive compensation — otherwise known as damages. You could receive money for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement or even loss of life enjoyment (all of which depends on the severity of the auto accident and your ability to prove the car manufacturer was at fault).
Evidence To Prove The Car Manufacturer Is At Fault For Your Auto Accident
If you’ve decided that your car manufacturer is, indeed, at fault for your auto accident, take the time to gather the following evidence (where applicable) to prove their liability:
- Proof of vehicle defect, personal injury and causation between the two
- Proof of damage
- All police reports of the incident
- Witness statements
- Vehicle warranties, instructions, warnings and labels
- Medical records and interviews
- Testimony of others with the same vehicular defect
Car Manufacturers Have an Obligation of Safety
When a vehicle brand sells their product, they automatically have an obligation to keep their drivers safe. That’s why we have the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the first place — to hold auto manufacturers accountable when things go awry. Even when a make must implement a recall, they need to be on the ball. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, and auto accidents do occur as a result.
By knowing when a car manufacturer is at fault for an auto accident, you’re empowering yourself to take action and receive the restitution you deserve. Reach out to the car accident attorneys at Porcaro Law of Delray Beach, Florida to work alongside you for your auto accident claim.