Car defects can cause serious motor vehicle accidents. In recent years, some of the largest automobile manufacturers, including Hyundai, Toyota, and Honda, have issued recalls for car defects. Plaintiffs who’ve suffered an injury caused by a car defect may be able to bring a product liability lawsuit. Under Tennessee product liability laws, car manufacturers are liable for any injuries caused by their defective automobiles.
If you’ve suffered a car accident due to a car defect, you may be entitled to compensation under Tennessee law. It is important to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Plaintiffs must file their product liability lawsuit within one year of the date that their injury occurred or Tennessee courts will bar them from filing a suit. Founding attorney Brian Cummings is a skilled trial lawyer who uses his experience to fight assertively on behalf of his clients. Contact our Nashville law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Common Types of Car Defects
Car manufacturers have recalled numerous vehicles for car defects. Some car defects remain unknown until they cause or contribute to a car accident. Car defects may also make a plaintiff’s injuries more severe. The following is a list of some common automobile defects:
- Seatbelt defects that result in the seatbelt failing to properly restrain a passenger
- Airbag defects that cause an airbag to fail to activate
- 15 passenger van accidents
- Conversion van safety defects
- Car window defects
- Takata airbag injuries
- Car seat back collapse defect
- Tire failure
- An airbag that activates with excessive force, causing serious head injuries
- Door defects that prevent the passenger from escaping the car in an accident
- Door defects that cause doors to open and a passenger to fly out of the vehicle
- Defective roof structures that collapse in a rollover accident, causing head injuries
- Defects in fuel system failures causing a post-collision fuel-fed fire after a crash
Categories of Car Defect Claims in Tennessee
Manufacturing defects occur when an error in the production line of the vehicle caused a car defect. A plaintiff must prove that the car defect occurred before the car left the automobile factory where it was produced.
In design defect claims, the original blueprint or design of the vehicle causes it to be unreasonably dangerous. Successful plaintiffs must prove that the vehicle’s designer knew or should have known about the design defect. The plaintiff must also prove that the designer should have anticipated serious injury resulting from the use of the vehicle. If the designer could have constructed the vehicle more safely without a significant additional cost, the designer had a duty to create a safer design.
The third type of car defect claim is a failure to warn claim. Car manufacturers have a duty to place certain prominent warning signs within motor vehicles. An automobile company fails to provide warning labels on dangerous projects can be held liable for accidents that result in personal injuries.
Manufacturing Car Defects that Result in Unsafe Vehicles
Car manufacturers have been known to cut safety corners in an attempt to save money. When cutting corners results in car defects, automobile manufacturers expose themselves to product liability lawsuits. For example, manufacturers that fail to reinforce the doors of a vehicle properly may be liable for any injuries passengers or drivers sustain due to inadequate side-impact protection.
Similarly, a car manufacturer may be liable for distributing a vehicle with faulty tires to a car dealership. When tires fail with only light or moderate wear on the treads, the tires themselves may be defective. In these instances, a plaintiff who receives injuries caused by the defective tires may be able to sue the tire manufacturer, car manufacturer and car dealership.
Elements in a Successful Car Defect Product Liability Lawsuit
Many car defect personal injury claims fall under the legal doctrine of strict liability which holds defendants liable for any injuries caused by the vehicle’s defective part or dangerous design. Tennessee courts will often hold defendants strictly liable regardless of any safety precautions the dealer or auto manufacturer claims. Nonetheless, plaintiffs must be able to prove the following elements of negligence:
- The plaintiff suffered a physical injury or financial loss from the defective product
- The product is defective
- The plaintiff used the product as intended
- The defective part had not been substantially changed from its original condition
What Constitutes a Defective Car Defect?
A defective car party is one that has an “unreasonably dangerous” defect or design that results in an injury to the driver, passengers, or another person. Car designers and manufacturers have a duty to make auto parts and cars that are reasonably safe in the event of a collision. A dangerous condition can be the result of any of the following circumstances:
- A defective design
- A defective manufacturing process
- Negligent or reckless handling during the motor vehicle’s shipment
- Failure to the consumer of the dangers of the product
Automobile Recalls for Defective Vehicles
Car manufacturing companies can voluntarily recall defective cars on their own. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) can also require manufacturers to issue recalls. Car manufacturers and the NHTSA publish relevant information about the car recall so that vehicle owners can replace or repair any defective parts. Conducting a recall does not automatically relieve car manufacturers from liability for injuries caused by defective parts.
Those injured in accidents caused by car defects may have legal grounds to sue the car manufacturer. However, the fact that a recall took place does not necessarily prove that a plaintiff is entitled to compensation. A plaintiff must prove that the product was defective. Further, they must prove that the car defect caused their injuries or made their injuries more catastrophic than they would have been otherwise.
The following well-known car manufacturers have recently issued recalls for car defects or for defective products known to have caused injuries:
- Fiat Chrysler
Contact Our Nashville Car Defect Product Liability Attorney
If you’ve suffered an injury as a result of a car defect, you may be entitled to compensation. Speaking with a skilled product liability attorney is essential. At Cummings Law, our experienced car defect attorneys use their negotiation and trial skills to fight for the best interests of their clients. Contact our Nashville law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.