In most cases, car accidents result from driver negligence. Whether speeding, drinking and driving, or texting behind the wheel, failure to meet the standard of care that all motorists owe to one another can have serious consequences – including life-changing and sometimes fatal injuries. When this happens, injured drivers and passengers can seek compensation for their losses by filing a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death.
But, what if no other drivers are to blame? What if it was not another driver, but rather a problem with your vehicle that led to the collision?
Seeking Compensation for Product-Related Injuries
Most people do not realize how many vehicles on the road are defective. Each year, major manufacturers recall millions of cars, vans, trucks and SUVs. Some of these defects are fairly minor, but many others have the potential to cause life-threatening injuries.
Of course, in some cases, manufacturers either do not learn about, or do not disclose, dangerous defects until they lead to injuries or deaths.
When a vehicle defect leads to an accident, injured drivers and passengers can often seek compensation from a variety of different sources. The most obvious target is the vehicle manufacturer, but individual part manufactures (i.e. the companies that make airbags, tires and brake pads) may be liable as well. In addition, under a rule that is unique to cases involving product liability (known as the "chain of distribution"), injury victims may also be able to seek compensation from independent dealers and wholesalers.
Strict Liability for Product Defects
The chain-of-distribution rule relates to another legal principle applicable to defect cases known as "strict liability." Remember our earlier discussion of driver-related accidents? There, we said that victims need to be able to prove that the driver was negligent (or failed to exercise due care) in operating their vehicle. But, in cases involving vehicle defects, this is not required. In defect cases, it is enough to simply show that the defect caused the accident. In other words, you do not need to prove that anyone in the "chain of distribution" was negligent or made a mistake in selling a defective product in order to hold them financially responsible.
How Do I Pursue a Vehicle Defect Claim?
While the strict liability rule removes an important hurdle for accident victims seeking just compensation, this does not mean that it is easy to hold a major corporation financially responsible for your injuries. If one vehicle has a defect, others are likely to be defective as well, and accepting responsibility in one case could open the flood gates for more lawsuits to follow.
As a result, in order to pursue a vehicle defect claim, you will need an experienced legal team on your side. Pursuing these types of claims requires an exhaustive investigation, and you will need a lawyer who can use the evidence to prove that the law entitles you to compensation. Vehicle defect cases are challenging - but by no means impossible - and with the right representation you can recover the financial compensation you deserve.
Contact Powell, Powell & Powell, P.A. About Your Florida Car Accident Claim
The Niceville car accident lawyers at Powell, Powell & Powell, P.A. provide experienced legal representation for car accident victims throughout the Florida panhandle. If you would like to discuss your vehicle defect claim with one of our attorneys, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.