Car or Other Vehicle Defect?
for defects that have already caused injuries or deaths to the products’ users or
that are found to have the potential for causing such injuries. The recent GM
recalls are a prime example of recalls instituted after injuries as well as
deaths have occurred and well after the defect that is suspected to have caused
these injuries and deaths was known to the manufacturer.
manufacturer and others in the chain of a vehicle’s or other product’s
distribution may be held liable for injuries sustained by a plaintiff as a
result of a defect in the product’s design or manufacture. Such defendants may
also be held liable as a result of the failure to warn of certain dangers
inherent in the use of the product or vehicle. The failure to warn of such
inherent dangers is considered to render a vehicle or other product that does
not contain adequate warnings unsafe for the product’s intended or reasonably
actions, breach of warranty actions, or strict liability actions. Most product
liability actions brought to recover damages for personal injuries sustained by
a plaintiff as a result of a product’s defect are brought as strict-liability
actions, however. These actions hold a manufacturer and others in the chain of
a product’s distribution liable for injuries caused by a product defect, even
if the manufacturer and others had no knowledge of the defect and were not at
all negligent in causing it or the plaintiff’s injuries.
other products, such actions are brought against the designers, assemblers,
parts suppliers, retailers and others in the chain of a product’s distribution.
In some states, however, the retailers or sellers of defective motor vehicles
are protected against strict liability for injuries caused by a defective
vehicle. In some states in which such protection is not available to retailers
of motor vehicles, retailers of both new and used vehicles may be named as
defendants and found liable in strict liability actions for injuries caused by
a defect in a vehicle sold by such a retailer.
manufacturer or individual liable for something that did not result from that
defendant’s negligence. Strict liability is liability without proof of fault,
and though allowed under the law and fully justified in light of the dangers to
the public of products that are released for use with product defects, jury
members will often find it easier to find a defendant liable when some evidence
of culpability in the form of negligence exists.
have had knowledge of a product defect and nevertheless releases the product to
the public without removing or correcting the defect, a jury may be more likely
to hold that manufacturer strictly liable for the injuries caused by such a
defect, even though a showing of such knowledge or negligence is not required
to hold the defendant responsible under strict-liability law.
combined recall of nearly 6 million GM vehicles, the manufacturer was
reportedly aware of the defect long before many, or most, of the recalled
vehicles were sold. GM engineers are reported to have noted and discussed the
problem with GM more than a decade before the first vehicles were recalled,
revealing actual knowledge of the defect on GM’s part as well as a failure to
take steps to correct the defect when such knowledge was acquired. Reports have
also been made that GM and many of its employees were aware of the ignition
switch defect and the dangers it presented even before the first vehicles
containing the defect were sold.
engineer is responsible for the ignition switch defect. At least one GM engineer
has already been fired, though recent reports indicate that that particular
engineer may have made attempts to convince GM to correct the switch-ignition
design defect years ago.
and its employees, if presented to a jury in a strict-liability action against
the manufacturer and designer of the vehicles containing the defect, may more
easily convince the jury to hold GM strictly liable for a plaintiff’s injuries
caused by the switch-ignition defect. A savvy and experienced
products-liability or personal-injury lawyer will make use of such evidence of
negligence in a product-liability action even when the action is brought as a
strict-liability rather than negligence claim.
Expert Assistance from an Experienced Personal-injury Attorney
Today’s writer, Jeffrey Killino, is the managing partner of The Killino Firm, P.C. and a respected
litigation attorney with extensive experience with all types of accident and
other personal-injury cases, including those arising out of injuries caused by defective
vehicles or other products. Attorney Killino’s knowledge and expertise have
awarded him national recognition through appearances on major television
networks, including CNN, ABC FOX, and the Discovery Channel, to speak about his
involvement in national cases, including one that resulted in the recall of
450,000 tires manufactured in China.