Padilla Law Group, LLP

Auto product defects and strict liability

Californians drive their cars, trucks, and SUVs without much thought of their safety outside of avoiding an accident caused by their own error or the negligence of another. While this is certainly important, it is not the only threat posed to motorists. Defective auto products can suddenly cause an accident or other motor vehicle malfunction that leaves individuals with serious injuries. In the worst cases, victims are killed. It is important for those who suffer damages from defective auto products to take the steps necessary to find accountability and, potentially, compensation for their losses.

One of the ways to do this is to file a lawsuit against a manufacturer of a defective auto part. These lawsuits can address any part of a vehicle, including, but not limited to, the braking system, electrical system, engine, fuel system parts, steering system, and transmissions. Also, as has been discussed in the news, tires and airbags can also be defective and pose a threat to unsuspecting motorists.

The legal theory of strict liability applies to these cases. This means that liability will be imposed on a manufacturer of a defective auto part so long as three elements can be proven. First, it must be shown that the defect that resulted in harm was unreasonably dangerous. This may be caused by an error in design, manufacture, or even through an inadequate warning. Second, a plaintiff must show that the defect caused harm when the vehicle was being used as intended. Third, the vehicle must be shown to have been in essentially the same condition as it was when it was sold. That is to say that there must not have been any major changes to the vehicle that affected the way it performed.

Although strict liability usually makes it easier for plaintiffs to prove their cases, these matters are still fraught with legal challenges. In order to prepare for these difficulties, those harmed by defective auto products may want to make sure that their legal arguments are sound by acquiring the help of an attorney who is skilled in this field.

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