January 22, 2014

Car Accidents: Design Defect and Manufacturing Defect

Design defect and manufacturing defect fall under the category of product liability. A design defect is established when the blue print of a particular product, such as the blue print of a car, is not properly designed. This means that an entire line of a product is defective as opposed to just one product. A manufacturing defect on the other hand is established when one product only in an entire line is defective. For example, the steering wheel of one Toyota Corolla out of a hundred may have not been inputted correctly.

A company's main objective is to constantly increase the amount of money they receive by selling cars for example. It is the company's duty to make sure that all their products are safe. When there is a defect in a particular product's blue print and that product was manufactured and sold to many, any injuries sustained by any of the consumers will be held against that company. If there is only one product from an entire line that injures its consumer, the company will be liable to that consumer.

Recent Design Defects and Manufacturing Defects That Involve Automobiles

Defective Tires: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 8,000 serious or fatal accidents are caused by tire failure every year.
Defective Airbags: Airbags have saved countless lives. Unfortunately, the malfunction of one can result in serious injury or death. If the airbag fails to deploy during an accident, the person in the collision will be much more vulnerable to the impact. If the airbag deploys without an impact, the driver will most likely lose control of the vehicle and can easily get in an accident. Even if the driver were to be able to maintain control, the deployment of the impact itself can cause serious injury.
Defective Seatbelts: The problem with a defective seatbelt can usually be found with the belt latch. During a collision the latch can become unlatched or break. A defective seatbelt can result in serious injury even in a minor car accident.

Case Law

Ford Motor Company v. Hall Edwards is a product liability case involving a vehicle roll over. Hall, a 17-year-old boy, was ejected from a Ford Explorer after the driver of the vehicle lost control and attempted to gain control. In the driver's attempt to gain control, the ford Explorer rolled over. Hall's estate alleged that Ford's design for the Explorer was defective based on the car's stability and handling characteristics. Ford alleged that the reason for the accident was because the driver was driving recklessly. The case concluded in favor of Hall's estate with a 61 million dollar verdict.

Proving a Design Defect

Design defect cases require that the plaintiff compare their accident with others that have occurred because of the defective design. Four elements must be met:

1.) Evidence of similar accidents
2.) The similar accidents must have been caused by the same product
3.) The similar accidents must establish a dangerous condition
4.) The similar accidents cannot be too remote from the one at issue.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident and feel that a malfunction or defect may have played a factor, you can speak to one of our Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys and they will gladly answer your questions for free.