Filing a Product Liability Claim for Defective Car Parts

Car and truck manufacturers, as well as those that manufacture vehicle components and accessories, are legally obligated to adhere to all federal and state safety standards. Unfortunately, in some cases vehicle manufacturers only discover – or report – problems with defective parts after an injury or death. Many times, a report like this will lead to a voluntary vehicle recall.

Sometimes, though, the manufacturers or retailers will issue a recall before anyone gets hurt, as a way of getting out ahead of the problem. They issue these recall notices directly to consumers and to their retailers, as well as through readily available news sources.

Here are 5 recent vehicle manufacture recalls:

  • 2019 Mazda 3 – Affecting about 25,000 vehicles
  • 2018-2019 Audi Q5, SQ5 SUVs – Affecting about 126,200 vehicles
  • 2013-16 Land Rover Range Rover – Affecting about 65,400 vehicles
  • 2018 Mazda CX-9 – Affecting about 7,800 vehicles
  • Porsche Cayenne, Panamera – Affecting about 99,700 vehicles
  • 2011-2017 Ford Explorer – Affecting about 1.2 million vehicles

Notice that some of the vehicles affected are a little older than others. Why, for example, Ford has only just issued a recall of 1.2 million vehicles manufactured between 2 and 8 years ago? They did not say.

Making a product liability claim for car parts

Regardless of whether or not your vehicle has been recalled, if you are injured because of a defective car part, you can file a claim for damages. Product liability claims involving defective car parts usually fall into one of three categories:

  • Design defects or flaws are mistakes in the design of the car part prior to its manufacture, or when design modifications are made.
  • Manufacturing defects can occur despite no flaw present in the product’s designed. The flaw is introduced during the manufacturing process.
  • Marketing defects occur when the manufacturer of the vehicle or car part fails to provide sufficient information to safely use the product or system. This can involve the “failure to warn” about improper use or use restrictions.

Evidence that helps establish car part manufacturer liability

Whether or not a product liability case is successful depends on the weight of the evidence presented by your attorney. This evidence is essential to prove liability on the part of the manufacturer. Expert witness testimony is often a key part of this collection of evidence.

Additional evidence you gather from the accident, including the evidence of your injuries and consequences related to your injuries is also important. These pieces of evidence can include:

Witness statements

Independent eyewitnesses hold greater weight with juries and judges than witnesses who are family members or friends. Independent witnesses are less likely to be prejudiced in their testimony due to having no financial or personal interest in the outcome of the claim.

It is important to obtain the names and contact information of any persons who witnessed the accident and have them write down their accounts along with their signature and date of their statement.

Photographs and videos

Photographic and video evidence developed of the accident scene, broken car part(s), and the victim’s injuries from the beginning all the way through to his or her treatment can be invaluable to the success of a claim. When possible and helpful, take pictures of important items alongside other familiar items to provide easy size comparisons.

Financial statements

Your financial losses are an important part of a car accident injury claim. Request a letter from your employer that confirms the amount of your lost wages due to your injuries. Have your employer list the dates and times you missed work in addition to all of your lost wages, overtime pay, and bonuses if applicable.

Medical records

These documents establish proof of your injuries due to the accident. The amount of compensation you have a right to receive is dependent in large part upon your medical costs resulting from the accident. Ask your medical provider for copies of your medical records and bills. Also, produce copies of out-of-pocket expense receipts, transportation costs to and from treatment, and proof of any other related medical care expenses.

The large car manufacturers and vendors have an arsenal of attorneys ready to counter injury claims from injured drivers and passengers. If you have suffered an injury due to a defective auto part, it is important to have an experienced attorney with extensive knowledge and powerful resources to handle the complexities of your product liability case.

At Martin & Helms, we can pursue the financial compensation you deserve for your losses. To schedule a free, initial consultation, please call our Huntsville accident attorneys today at 256.539.1990 or drop us a message through our contact form. From our office locations in Huntsville and Decatur, we are ready to serve you throughout the surrounding areas, including in Athens and Madison.