If you have been injured in a car accident, it may not be the fault of another driver. In some instances, the vehicle that you or someone else was operating could be defective. Whether you were injured by a car, truck, SUV, motorcycle, or ATV, you may have a claim for damages against the manufacturer, retailer, or some other party. There are countless possible auto defects that could potentially cause injury. Some common situations that you may have read about in the news recently include air bags that deploy improperly, faulty brakes, tires prone to blowouts, or vehicles prone to tipping over (SUVs, ATVs, or any other vehicle).
An experienced products liability lawyer can help you determine whether to file suit against another driver or the auto manufacturer after an accident. If your injuries were caused at least in part by some sort of defect, you can bring a products liability claim against the manufacturer. There are two primary types of products liability cases involving auto defects:
Defective manufacturing: An error at the manufacturing plant, problem during shipping, or issue at the dealership can all give rise to a claim of defective manufacturing, even if only a small component of the vehicle was compromised.
Dangerous design: Even if everything goes smoothly during the manufacture of these vehicles, the design itself is somehow inherently dangerous. For example, if a vehicle has been improperly engineered such that it is prone to tip over during a sharp turn. These vehicles may be on the market for some time until the defect is brought to the public’s attention.
Common Examples of Defective Vehicles
In recent years, there have been a number of lawsuits related to defective automobiles and auto parts, including:
- SUVs and all terrain vehicles (ATVs) that are prone to rolling over
- Airbags that are known to send dangerous shrapnel into a vehicle upon impact, often lodging in passengers and fatally injuring occupants on some occasions
- Motorcycles that wobble dangerously when driven at high speeds
- Defective tires that burst open when trucks or cars are travelling
Who Is Liable for Damages?
Our legal team can help you determine who is the appropriate party (or parties) to sue for damages. It is best to include all potential participants in the “chain of distribution” of the car, vehicle, or auto part that you suspect may be responsible for your injury. This can include the following parties:
The Auto Manufacturer: Although the manufacturer may have “deeper pockets” than other parties in a products liability case, it also means that they have resources to vigorously defend claims that are likely to expose them to even greater liability.
The Parts Manufacturer: It is best to sue both the auto manufacturer and the manufacturer of any potentially defective parts. The court can later sort out who is liable and how liability should be apportioned if multiple parties are to blame.
The Dealership: The auto dealer may also be liable, even if someone else was responsible for purchasing the vehicle (like a parent or spouse). A used car dealer may also be liable in some cases, depending on your circumstances and jurisdiction.
Middlemen: In certain cases, the shipping company or other party in the chain of distribution is at fault. An experienced attorney will include them as a defendant and then through the process of discovery determine whether they actually bear liability.
Class Action Suits
There are frequent headlines about mass-produced auto defects, or stories about widely known dangerous designs. In such cases, you may be able to join with others in a class to share the costs of litigation. Moreover, in some cases, a class action suit may already have been filed, in which case an experienced lawyer can help you join the already-existing class action lawsuit.
South Carolina Product Liability Lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden Can Help Those Affected by Defective Products
If you have been injured in a car accident, the Columbia product liability lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden can help you obtain answers and hold the responsible parties accountable. Since 1993, our lawyers have been committed to protecting the rights of injured people and helping them obtain the justice and compensation they deserve. Call us today at 803-929-3600 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We advocate for clients throughout South Carolina, and in the communities of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.