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Holding automakers liable for automobile design defect injuries

Texas residents have probably become used to news stories about automobile safety recalls. As we reported in a recent post, recalls by automakers have hit record levels this year. Many of these recalls were prompted by accidents that resulted in serious injury or death. For the victims of these accidents, the recall notice comes too late.

Those who have been injured by an automobile design defect, and the families of those who have been killed, have the right to sue the vehicle manufacturer for compensation. The manufacturer can be held liable on a negligence theory or on a theory of strict product liability. Under the law of product liability, a manufacturer of an unreasonably dangerous product can be held liable for injuries caused by the product. A product can be unreasonably dangerous due to a design defect, a manufacturing defect or an insufficient warning of foreseeable hazards in using the product.

A manufacturer can be held liable if the defect caused the accident, as when brakes fail or a poor design results in a rollover accident. The manufacturer can also be liable even if the defect did not cause the accident to occur, but caused the resulting injuries to be worse than they otherwise would have been. This category of cases is known as "enhanced injury" or "second collision" cases, and they focus on the collision that occurs between a vehicle occupant and a part of the car's interior. Second collision injuries can be caused by defective airbags or seat belts, or by a component part, such as a steering wheel.

At Reed & Terry L.L.P., we are committed to helping those who have been injured by defective automobiles and auto parts. For more about this area of our practice, please see our Richmond Auto Defect Accident Lawyers web page.

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