Many automobile accidents are caused by the driver’s behavior, but others are caused by a defect in the vehicle. In these accidents, the manufacturer, not the driver, maybe at fault for putting a defective product on the road.
If you’ve been injured because of a car defect -- or it caused the death or injury of a loved one -- you may be able to file a claim and recover damages. In contrast to many other lawsuits, you and your personal injury attorney won’t have to prove the company was negligent. Instead, you’ll need to prove a defect existed and it caused the accident and your injuries.
Types of car defects
The defect can fall into one of the following categories:
- A design defect- when the vehicle’s design was flawed in such a way it causes injury when used in a normal manner.
- A manufacturing defect- the design doesn’t cause the defect, but the vehicle is incorrectly manufactured.
- A warning defect- when the presence of a defect and the resulting danger is known, but the public isn’t properly notified.
Car defect cases can be complicated. A personal injury lawyer can help prove the defect exists and determine who was at fault. In some cases, a group of plaintiffs who have been harmed because of the same issue can take legal action together in a class action suit.
Your lawyer can help you preserve the vehicle for evidence and bring in experts to examine that the defect exists and caused the accident.
Proving your damages
You’ll need to be able to prove as a result of the defect, you suffered harm. This may be in the form of injuries resulting in pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages. You may not be able to enjoy life to the same degree after your accident, depending on the extent and nature of your injuries. You may also be unable to continue to work and may face ongoing rehabilitation costs.
Documentation such as doctor’s reports, bills for surgeries, medication, and testimony from the experts who examined the car can all help prove your case and injuries.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. These are designed to punish the defendant in cases involving particularly troubling behavior such as acting in a fraudulent or malicious manner. These could apply if, for example, an automobile manufacturer knew its design was defective but did nothing to correct it and did not notify the public about cars already sold.
Contact Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez at 702-388-GGRM (4476) for a free consultation if you’ve been injured as a result of a car defect, and download our free accident checklist, "8 Surprising Things to Know After a Car Accident."