After a two-week trial in an auto product liability case, a jury awarded a verdict of $150,000,000.
When an automaker sells a car for profit, the automaker has a responsibility to make sure that the car is safe. That’s not only a moral responsibility, but also a legal one. See O.C.G.A. § 51-1- 11. The law calls this principle “crashworthiness”—if a manufacturer sells a car, that manufacturer must make sure that the car is reasonably safe for the people who buy it. A product liability case is when a product, like a vehicle, fails to do what it is supposed to do.
If you were injured in an accident involving a defective motor vehicle or faulty part, you may be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer. A product liability lawyer knows what to look for and how to handle a product liability case. For example, our personal injury law firm was part of a winning trial team that proved to a jury of twelve that the dangerous gas tank design of a Jeep Grand Cherokee caused the vehicle to explode after rear impact, causing the death of a young boy who otherwise would have survived. After a two-week trial, a jury awarded a verdict of $150,000,000.
Design Defects vs. Manufacturing Defects
There are two types of defects in product liability claims: design defects and manufacturing defects. When the design of a vehicle makes the vehicle unsafe, a “design defect” claim is appropriate. Examples of design defects include unsafe gas tank locations, seat belts that don’t hold occupants in place, weak vehicle structure, or airbags that deploy incorrectly. When an error in the manufacturing process makes a vehicle unsafe, a “manufacturing defect” claim is appropriate. Examples of manufacturing defects could include poor welds or misshapen parts that make safety systems fail.
Working with an experienced product liability lawyer is important because there may be more than one person or company at fault. Manufacturers are often held liable for manufacturing defects, but parts manufacturers, car dealerships, and automotive shops may also be responsible. For example, the third-party manufacturer of a part—for example, the company that sold the airbag sensor to the vehicle manufacturer—may be responsible for the failure of that part. Determining who is responsible for a defect takes more than just ordering and reviewing the police report. At our firm, we know how to inspect the vehicle, research the manufacturing history, apply federal and state law, and look for other accidents in which the same problem occurred. OSIs (which is short-hand for “other similar incidents”) require work. Our personal injury lawyers always put in the work.
Accident Claims vs. Product Liability Claims
Vehicle manufacturers try to hide behind their legal teams, so it’s important that you have a strong legal team of your own. Our firm has real experience holding manufacturers accountable for their design and manufacturing errors.
If you were injured in an accident caused by a defective motor vehicle, it may be necessary to file two claims: one against the manufacturer of the defective vehicle and one against the at-fault driver. One of our personal injury attorneys can explain each type of claim and let you know if you should pursue both claims or pick one over the other. It all begins with a free conversation.