• By: Hank Stout
  • Published: October 2020

houston product liability lawyerWhile most car accidents can be prevented, others are simply out of our control. When a car accident occurs due to a defective car, the consequences can be life-altering. Not only can a defective car cause an accident to occur, but it can also lead to more serious injuries. Accident victims who believe that a defective car resulted in their accident and injuries can file a product liability lawsuit within two years from the date of their injuries.

Unfortunately, proving liability for car accidents caused by a defective car is not an easy undertaking. It may be in your best interest to work with a product liability attorney who understands your case, providing the best odds of securing a positive outcome for your situation.

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Types of Car Defects

Before you can prove a defective car caused your car accident, you must know what type of car defect may have resulted in failure. Cars go through several phases before being distributed and sold, and different teams work on designing, building, testing, and tweaking a car’s safety and performance. Some of the most common types of car defects include:

  • Faulty airbags
  • Tire defects
  • Defective ignition switches
  • Seat belt defects
  • Fuel system issues
  • Roof collapse
  • Non-crashworthy car
  • Faulty steering system

Accident victims who are hurt because of a defective car can suffer catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, especially when airbags, seat belts, and car roofs don’t function properly. If you or your loved one suffers injuries due to a defective car, don’t go another minute without a competent product liability attorney on your team.

Product Liability Claims for a Defective Car

Identifying all parties responsible for your defective car can be challenging and may involve anyone from the design and manufacturer to the retailer, distributor, or importer. Texas law applies strict liability to product liability claims, meaning that you can hold parties liable for dangerous car defects without the burden of proving negligence.

Defective car claims are approached through three different types of claims: defective design, manufacturer defects, or warning and/or labeling defects. The following information will cover what elements you must prove to have a viable product liability lawsuit.

Defective Design

Cars with a defective design are inherently unsafe to users before the product is manufactured, or even in cases where the manufacturer was extremely careful and cautious in the process. If there is a defect in a car’s original design, then a manufacturing defect is almost entirely bound to occur; therefore, a car manufacturer cannot hold liability.

Proving a defective design requires a preponderance of evidence showing that:

  • The design was unsafe
  • The unsafe design directly caused your injuries
  • There was an alternative, less dangerous design option
  • The alternative design would be economically and technologically feasible
  • The alternative design would reduce the risk of injury

Manufacturer Defect

Cars with a manufacturing defect occur when something goes wrong in the product’s assembly. These typically take place when a car is in the production line or quality control phase, and generally happen because manufacturers rush through design and testing processes. Design defects are uniform, meaning that every car that was produced will have identical issues. Manufacturing defects, on the other hand, are unpredictable, and you may only find a few cars with a defect.

In a manufacturer defect claim, you must have compelling evidence of the car’s defect and that the defect caused your accident and injuries. Even if a manufacturer wasn’t negligent, they still may be held liable under strict liability.

Warning and/or Labeling Defect

Warning and labeling defects occur when a car is marketed in an inadequate manner, with a failure to disclose the appropriate instructions or warning signs about its use. Manufacturers are responsible for providing users with clear instructions for use and any potential dangers that could arise. A warning label, statement, and instructions must be direct and must meet federal labeling requirements. To prove a warning or labeling defect, you must show proof that your car was missing a warning label or that the instructions on the label were insufficient.

Trusted Product Liability Attorneys in Texas Here to Help

If you have been hurt by a faultily designed, manufactured, or marketed car, Sutliff & Stout can help you determine the cause of your accident and who should be held liable. Our Board- Certified product liability attorneys have extensive experience with product liability and personal injury laws, allowing us to construct factual cases and persuasive arguments.

Here at Sutliff & Stout, we are committed to providing you with unparalleled legal services, so together we can hold car manufacturers and designers liable for unsafe products. When you buy a car, you expect that all parts, controls, and safety features will work. When something goes wrong, you’re entitled to be fairly compensated. Learn more about how Sutliff & Stout can help by calling (713) 987-7111 or completing our contact form.

About the Author

Hank Stout co-founded Sutliff & Stout, Injury & Accident Law Firm, to protect and pursue the rights of people who were harmed by the carelessness of others. Mr. Stout is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law and has been actively trying cases for over fifteen years. In recognition of his accomplishments and results, he has been selected by Thompson Reuters as a Super Lawyer since 2014 (a distinction given to less than 1% of the lawyers in the state of Texas) and has been selected as Lead Counsel. To learn more, read Hank's full bio here.

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