Vehicular defects are flaws in the design or manufacturing of a motor vehicle. Design defects are intended elements of the design itself that are defective. For example, if an automobile does not promote safety of its occupants due to the design of its frame, design defects are evident. A manufacturing defect, on the other hand, is a defect that was not intended in the design, but was overlooked as the product was manufactured. For example, a manufacturing defect may be present if a component of an automobile does not function in the manner it was intended to.
In either case, vehicle occupants are placed at a higher risk for injury and death during an accident.
Auto product liability claims have the potential to be complex, but our legal team has the know-how and experience to properly handle these product liability cases. An auto product liability lawyer at de Lachica Law Firm, PLLC, can provide you with the level of counsel you need to go up against an automobile manufacturer or designer in order to seek financial compensation for the injuries you have sustained as the result of a defective auto part. De Lachica Law Firm can handle product liability cases related to design or manufacturing defects in all types of automobile parts and represent clients throughout the U.S.
Defective Vehicle Design
Defective vehicle design is a key area of concern when it comes to auto accidents as they may cause an accident to occur or may result in injuries that would have been avoided if the vehicle had been properly designed.
Since 1996 when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was authorized to set standards for automobile safety and require automobile companies to recall defective vehicles, millions of automobiles including passenger cars, commercial trucks and motorcycles have been withdrawn from the market. Often, auto manufacturers cut back on correct design processes in an effort to cut costs and speed up delivery schedules. By the time a defective vehicle is recalled, it could have contributed to several accidents and injuries.
Types of Vehicle Defects
There are several key types of defects that may either lead to an auto accident or contribute to the severity of injury that a vehicle occupant experiences in the traffic collision. You can review these below:
- Defective Tires – Tire failures or blowouts are a major cause of rollovers. In recent years, some of the country’s biggest tire companies, including Firestone and Cooper Tires, have been linked to design flaws and shoddy production values resulting in tires with poor tread adherence. Tread separation is one of the most common reasons for a tire blowout and can be attributed to poor tread design, which causes separation while the car is in motion.
- Fuel System Defects – Fuel tanks may be incorrectly positioned, placing the tank system at a greater risk of impact during an accident. Fuel tanks are also prone to welding failures and often lack safety devices that stop gas flow in the event of an accident. Automobile accidents related to fuel tank defects are some of the most preventable, and yet, vehicle fires and explosions continue to occur.
- Seatbelt and Airbag Defects – Seatbelt systems and airbags have greatly contributed to the reduction of automobile fatalities. However, when these safety devices come with design and manufacturing defects, they can cause serious injuries to the drivers and passengers they are meant to protect. Seatbelts can become unlatched or tear during impact and airbags may fail to deploy or deploy at the wrong moment, increasing the possibility of injuries.
- Defective Brakes – Accidents caused by defective brakes are much less common now due to enhanced design / production and more stringent testing. When brakes do fail, however, the results can be severe.
- Car and SUV Roof Collapse – The biggest risk to passengers in a car or SUV rollover accident is roof crush or collapse. While some amount of damage to the roof may be unavoidable during a rollover, catastrophic injuries to occupants are usually the result of a weak, unsteady roof support system that causes the roof to disintegrate in the event of an accident.
- Uncontrolled Acceleration – Several models of cars in recent years have been linked to incidents of uncontrolled and unexplained acceleration, in which the engine revs up and the car speeds ahead completely on its own. Auto manufacturers continue to insist that there are no design defects that can explain such uncontrolled acceleration, but passengers who have been involved in accidents caused by such unprovoked speeding know otherwise.
- Defective Seat Design– Seatbacks that have a weak and unstable structure are prone to collapsing during a traffic collision, placing occupants at a high risk for serious head and bodily injuries. Passengers have suffered head, neck and spinal cord injuries, organ damage, paralysis and even death, as a result of partial or complete ejection from the seat, as well as being thrown against the vehicle’s interior upon impact.
- Power Window Defects – Children are more at risk of injuries caused by power windows than adults. These injuries can range from hand, wrist and finger fractures to dislocations and even death, if a child’s body or head is trapped in a window.
Contact a Houston Automobile Product Liability Lawyer for a Free Consultation
In offering a free consultation to review the circumstances surrounding your claim, de Lachica Law Firm gives you the opportunity to learn more about your options and your legal rights. If you have questions that need to be answered, a product liability attorney can provide you with straightforward answers that apply to your particular situation. They wish to help you make informed choices about your case so you can seek justice and maximum compensation.