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Liability and damages for defective vehicle claims

Products that are unsafe or defective can have widespread impact if they are put on the market for consumers to use. New Orleans consumers are often unaware that a product is defective until it is too late, and they have been severely injured by it. This is the case for many products, including motor vehicles. Based on their prevalent usage, high speeds and the fact that they contain gasoline and electronics, motor vehicles can pose a significant danger if they are not designed or built properly.

Proof of negligence or carelessness on the part of a car manufacturer or seller may be unnecessary for such claims. Rather, these incidents are governed by the rule of strict liability. Essentially, if certain elements are present, the manufacturer or seller is liable for any ensuing injuries, regardless of their conduct. There are three elements that must be established for a successful vehicle defect claim: a vehicle component contained an unreasonably dangerous defect, the defect resulted in an injury although the vehicle was being used as intended and the vehicle was not changed substantially from when it was originally sold.

An unreasonably dangerous defect can be created in the design, manufacture or shipment of a vehicle, or as a result of a failure to warn consumers of dangers presented by the vehicle. Although vehicle manufacturers and sellers are strictly liable for such injuries, they may have certain defenses available to them based on the circumstances. If a consumer drives a vehicle for a period of time, it may be assumed that they knew of the defects and continued to operate the vehicle anyway. Additionally, a consumer's own actions may indicate that they contributed to their injuries as well.

Products liability claims can be complex for consumers to establish the appropriate proof or the level of compensation to which they are entitled. A product liability attorney can assist with this process as well as pursue appropriate damages for their situation. If a manufacturer or seller's actions are especially egregious, an injured consumer may be able to seek punitive damages as well.

Source: FindLaw, "Car Defect Injury Claims," accessed on Nov. 8, 2015

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