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Seeger Weiss LLP
77 Water Street
Complex Litigation, Simple Justice..
221 N. LaSalle Street Suite 1900
AMERICA'S LEADING PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS..
It’s a tricky topic to dance around with, but when a client deals with an automobile that suddenly drops dead and then is required to pay for repairs, and injury as a result of the breakdown, outside of a warranty, the issue about why the automobile broke down can give rise to a very important type of claim.
An auto defect claim.
It’s a difficult claim to deal with and one that requires a good auto defect lawyer. Let’s put it this way:
A Client Can’t Claim This Unless It Involves Injury
This isn’t about getting some money to pay for the repairs of the car – even if the client didn’t cause the defect somehow. Any auto defect lawyer will say the same thing – the event of the breakdown must have caused some kind of injury to threaten life in some way before there can even be a claim for auto defect.
There is, of course, one term used in auto defect claims on a regular basis, and it would do any prospective client well to know it. All auto defect lawyers know it.
This basically means the level in which a vehicle at the time of a collision can minimize the chance of injury to any party. Factors include crumple zones for the vehicle for the purposes of maintaining an adequate enough space for occupants to survive a car crash, restraints to help prevent ejection from the vehicle at the time of impact, fire prevention, and also the control of energy transfer during a collision.
Consult as many experienced auto defect lawyers for a better idea of what it means for a vehicle to ‘fail’ any kind of “crashworthiness” test. Results for this test in the negative can contribute to the validity of any auto defect claim. For a bad “crashworthiness” test lends to the fact that there’s a defect in the manufacturing of the vehicle. Therefore it wasn’t necessarily the crash that caused the injury; it was the car itself.
Auto defect lawyers will talk a lot about “responsibility,” but what the client needs to know about that term is that it refers to liability in an auto defect. Typically the “responsibility” falls under the vehicle’s manufacturer, the defective component’s manufacturer, and even the dealer.
Good auto lawyers can determine where that “responsibility” falls under based on evidence. In addition, there are several grounds for establishing that responsibility: negligence, warranty breach, and “strict liability” are three. Auto lawyers will use the term “strict liability” to mean a manufacturer’s absolute direct responsibility to provide a product that is completely safe. “Strict liability” does not mean negligence, carelessness, or even an actual intent to cause harm to any driver.
So What Happens When Crashworthiness Falls Short and Responsibility Is Clear?
That’s easy. You get a claim set up. Obviously the collision or whatever accident happened wasn’t a result of any decision made as a driver, or even a defect caused by wear and tear. As long as there was some kind of injury as a result of the crash, a claim for an auto defect can be created.
And definitely a client suffering from that would need to consult auto lawyers and figure out which attorney would best handle the claim.
In order for an effective auto lawyer to establish a valid auto defect claim, negligence or even carelessness won’t matter at all. What matters is if the auto lawyer can in fact prove without a shadow of a doubt that the manufacturer obviously didn’t make a “reasonably safe vehicle.”
Typical criteria for that burden of proof would include these three specific factors:
• The Auto Lawyer Must Prove That There Was an “Unreasonably Dangerous” Defect in the Vehicle, Leading to the Injury in Question
• With the Correct Intention for Operation of the Vehicle, the Defect Must Have Caused the Injury
• There Is No Substantial Alteration to the Vehicle After It Was Originally Purchased
If the attorney can prove all of these, the claim will be awarded. An “unreasonably dangerous” defect would be characterized as a defect in the vehicle that could potentially cause serious harm to a driver. However, even such a defect wouldn’t hold the manufacturer responsible if a driver was operating the vehicle in a way not intended for use. In addition, manufacturers are released from their “responsibility” if alterations were made on the vehicle after purchase.
The Way Manufacturers Would Defend Against an Auto Defect Claim
Typically, it would seem that auto manufacturers would be up against the ropes when the cards are stacked against them with that much evidence in an auto defect claim. But there are defenses, and clients must be aware of them.Because the more exact rhetoric about the “responsibility” suggests that it must exist with the knowledge that the vehicle could’ve been manufactured with certain components to ensure the crashworthiness of the vehicle, a typical defense on the manufacturer’s behalf is to prove that there was in fact no alternative component at the time the vehicle was built, and while new technology would suggest that certain components may be regarded as ‘defective,’ no such way to remedy that existed at that time.
Other defenses would be to state that the driver would also be partially responsible in the sense that he or she would know of the components in the vehicle at the time of purchase and had reasonable knowledge that a crash can happen resulting in injury. Some lawyers would call that “contributory” or “comparative” negligence, meaning that the driver continued to operate the vehicle with the knowledge that the component was faulty in some way.
Auto Defect Lawyer : What Would the Damages Be?
Let’s say the claim is awarded to the driver. What’s the settlement? Punitive damages of up to millions of dollars can be awarded in a blink of an eye. All because of a defective component. In addition, manufacturers may perform what’s called a “cost/benefit analysis. That simply means a decision to either pay the claim or fix the defect. If the defect costs less, they’ll go for that option. Likewise if the claim is less.
This method of payment for damages obviously protects a manufacturer financially. Making repairs to auto defects per injury or death may cost around $100,000 per person. Compared to punitive damages, that’s a much easier number to contend with.
Auto Defect Lawyer : So Do You Have an Auto Defect Claim?
Consider the information. This is all knowledge that is necessary, especially when purchasing a vehicle.
If the case is clear, then you know what to do: find an attorney that’s right for you, and get that claim going.