Auto manufacturers must provide their products to the market free of unexpected defects or dangers. Automobiles that do not meet the ordinary expectations of consumers may lead to product liability lawsuits. The party you may hold responsible depends on various factors.
If you are the owner of a vehicle with an auto defect, you must identify the responsible party by determining at which stage the defect occurred — design, manufacturing or marketing. A design defect was present from the start while a manufacturing defect could occur during manufacture or assembly. A marketing defect happens when the dealer withholds important information.
You may be fortunate to receive a recall notice
You may receive notification of your vehicle’s recall before you suffer harm due to a defect. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the manufacturer might advise you to take the car for free repairs or replacement of defects. However, such advice might not reach you, and if you become aware of a problem, you might benefit from checking the NHTSA website for a recall notice. If the dealership refuses to repair or replace defective parts, you can file a complaint with the manufacturer or NHTSA.
Is your vehicle a lemon?
Although it is difficult to explain why certain vehicles seem to be irreparable from the start, it happens. Such vehicles are called lemons, and typically have defects that are present when you buy the car and remain despite multiple efforts to repair it. If there is convincing evidence that your vehicle is a lemon, you may seek a replacement or a refund, and if the dealer refuses to take the necessary action, you might have grounds to file a lawsuit.
Has an auto defect caused injuries or other damages?
Unfortunately, severe injuries and even deaths can follow accidents that result from auto defects. If you or a loved one has suffered the consequences of an auto defect, you may pursue financial relief. However, when you file a product liability lawsuit, you must show that the defect existed when you took ownership of the vehicle. Furthermore, the court will want to know that you used the car only for its intended purpose as instructed by the manufacturer and that it caused you harm.
What about proving negligence?
Auto defects claims are different from any other product liability lawsuits. If you can prove that a defect existed, you need not prove the negligence of any particular party. The safety standards for automobiles in Texas and other states require vehicles to protect the occupants. The only reason you might need to identify the origin of the defect is to know whom to hold liable for financial and other damages. You may find comfort in knowing that experienced legal counsel is available to provide the necessary assistance.