Can a car crash give rise to a product liability claim?

With spring break in full swing, college students all across America may be taking road trips in vehicles that, from their appearance, might seem unequipped for the trip. Hopefully, those trips will be accident free. But if any trips do end in a crash, here are some important legal tips.

As a preliminary matter, car accident lawsuits often involve allegations of negligence against another driver. But could the car dealership or car manufacturer also be liable under a product liability theory? 

Quite possibly. A car manufacturer is responsible for issuing recalls for any known defects, and could be liable for any injuries resulting from a dangerous vehicle design. However, the task of making the repairs required under a recall notice often falls to the car dealerships. If a car dealership failed to do those repairs, it might be liable instead of the manufacturer. 

Similarly, liability could also apply to a dealership that failed to make repairs required under a new car’s warranty. A car dealership could also face liability if it sold or leased a car it knew to be defective. 

Unfortunately, recalls are often reactive; that is, they are in response to a growing body of consumer injuries. A car manufacturer might not have been aware of a dangerous design or faulty component until the toll of injuries begins to mount. In that instance, a recall should be issued to minimize future injuries, but those already injured by the product may need to turn to a law firm to seek compensation for their losses, medical costs, pain and suffering, and lost income. 

Our law firm has experience in bringing product liability claims on behalf of clients injured by dangerous cars or defective parts. Check out our firm’s website to learn more about our practice group.

Source: FindLaw, “Suing a Car Dealership FAQ,” Christopher Coble, March 22, 2016

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