No Recovery, You Owe Us Nothing
When you are driving, the last thing you expect is to get in an accident because of an issue with your car, truck or SUV. Yet, while we trust our vehicles to get us to our destinations safely, the reality is that vehicle defects are fairly common, and some defects can cause complete and total loss of control. Our Pensacola auto product liability attorneys are intimately familiar with these risks, and we have helped many accident victims and families recover just compensation for vehicle defect claims.
In addition to causing severe auto accidents, vehicle defects can also cause serious injuries. From defective power windows to defective airbags, many different issues can present serious risks for adults and children. Even if injuries do not result from a collision, victims and families can still seek just compensation, and our Pensacola auto product liability lawyers have had significant success in these types of cases as well.
There are two main types of automotive product liability claims: (i) claims based on design defects and (ii) claims based on manufacturing defects.
A vehicle or vehicle component suffers from a defective design if it is unsafe even when properly manufactured and used. For example, if a bumper or crumple zone does not provide adequate protection to the vehicle’s passengers, it has a design defect. While most types of design defects should be uncovered during the engineering and testing processes, this does not always happen, and many components that aren’t necessarily safety-related (such as power windows) undergo less scrutiny than other “higher-risk” vehicle components.
A manufacturing defect occurs when a component that is safe by design becomes unsafe due to flaws during its manufacture or assembly. For example, if a steel frame cracks or is weakened during the manufacturing process or a vehicle’s brakes are not assembled correctly, this would be considered a manufacturing defect. While design defects almost always affect a large number of vehicles, manufacturing defects can either affect a large number of vehicles or occur in isolated incidents.
The reality is that all vehicle components have the potential to suffer from design and manufacturing defects. However, certain types of defects are more common than others. Some examples of more common vehicle defects include:
Defective accelerators can cause unexpected and uncontrolled acceleration—and this can create an extremely dangerous scenario. If your accelerator got stuck with the throttle open, or if you got hit by another driver whose accelerator pedal malfunctioned, our Pensacola auto product liability attorneys can help you seek just compensation.
Airbag defects made national headlines a few years ago when Takata was forced to recall millions of airbags installed in vehicles sold by many of the world’s leading auto manufacturers. These defects continue to be a concern, and they often cause severe injuries for both drivers and passengers.
Brake defects can be horrifying, and they can be extremely dangerous. When a brake failure causes (or contributes to causing) a crash, the manufacturer can be held liable under Florida law. This applies to all components of a vehicle’s braking system—from the brake lines to the discs, pads and calipers.
Electrical system defects can cause headlights and taillights to go out, and they can cause cars’ entire electrical systems to shut down. These present obvious risks and they are issues for which accident victims and families can often seek just compensation.
Engine and transmission defects can also lead to loss of control. Defects that result in overheating, leaks, cracks and other issues can leave drivers helpless to try to maintain control of their vehicles.
Fuel system defects can cause cars, trucks and SUVs to shut down suddenly. They can also increase the risk of fire or explosion in the event of a crash.
Power windows should be designed and manufactured to operate safely at all times. If a power window defect results in a driver or passenger being unable to open the window in an emergency, this could give rise to a claim against the manufacturer. The same is true if a power window fails to stop and traps an occupant’s arm, fingers or neck.
Seats and seatbelts are critical safety components in any vehicle, and defects can present risks for various injuries. This includes everything from knee and ankle injuries (from colliding with the dashboard or footwell) to seatbelt burns and rib fractures.
Structural defects can compromise the safety of the passenger cabin, potentially exposing occupants to severe injuries from crushing. This includes roof collapses occurring in rollover accidents.
Tire defects are also issues that can cause drivers to suddenly and unexpectedly lose control. This includes issues with original tires from the factory as well as tire retreads installed on large commercial trucks.
If you need to seek financial compensation for an accident that you believe may have involved an automotive defect, what are your next steps? First and foremost, you should contact a law firm promptly. It will be necessary to inspect the vehicle thoroughly—and this inspection will need to take place before the vehicle gets repaired. At Searcy Denney, our Pensacola auto product liability lawyers handle accident cases throughout the Florida Panhandle, and we can get to work on your case immediately.
For more information about your legal rights following a serious or fatal accident involving a vehicle defect, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Searcy Denney. To speak with one of our Pensacola auto product liability attorneys in confidence, call 888-549-7011 or request a free consultation online now.