California Auto Defects and Liability
Unlike many other attorneys, I have extensive experience in handling defective automobile cases. We here at the Law Offices of William C. Bibb have represented the plaintiffs of automotive design and manufacturing accidents for years, advocating on behalf of the victims of defective seatbelts, airbags, tires, and brakes. I have also handled cases revolving around unintended vehicle acceleration, vehicle rollovers, and burns resulting from defective gas pumping systems and other related issues.
Defects in an automobile's design and/or manufacturing can have catastrophic effects. Such defects can be the result of a lack of product testing and/or research; other times, automobile manufacturers allow their defective vehicles to enter the market without properly warning or instructing consumers about the risks. Effectively determining liability and damages for injuries sustained by victims of automotive defects depends largely upon the factors described above. I have the professional experience and resources necessary to fully investigate defects in automobile design and manufacturing. I am also committed to representing and advocating on behalf of auto-defect accident victims and consumers.
Recalls and Liability
In the past two decades alone, over 250 million vehicles have been recalled by automakers for potentially dangerous defects. One major aspect of protecting car buyers and motorists is ensuring that automobile manufacturers and retailers abide by important safety and recall standards. Automobile manufacturers, designers, and retailers are legally responsible for the vehicles they make, and must be held liable for defect-related accidents and injuries when they occur.
Understanding what Constitutes an Auto Defect
-- Design defects occur when an engineering flaw produces dangerous conditions in the product.
-- Manufacturing defects can occur even though a automobile component has no design flaws.
-- Inadequate warnings and instructions can happen despite the fact that the product was designed and manufactured properly.
Proving that an Automobile is Defective
-- The product is "defective" in design and/or manufacturing, and/or lacks proper warnings or instructions, or it might contain unsafe automobile parts; and
-- The "defect' existed at the time the auto left the hands of the manufacturer or retailer, and;
-- The defect caused the injury.
Examples of Auto Defects
-- Tires: Defective tires may undergo tread separation at high speeds, causing the vehicle to veer out of control or roll over. Even experienced drivers have difficulty steering safely in the event of a blowout. The vehicle may lose control and cause injury or death.
-- Seat Belts: Shoulder harnesses and lap belt restraint systems are known to fail. So-called "second collision" incidents occur when a motorist is involved in an accident and his or her restraint system fails, causing his or her body to hit the interior of the vehicle or be ejected from the vehicle.
-- Airbags: Defective airbags can malfunction in a variety of ways. The airbag jet packs may not fire, or the airbag may fail to inflate upon collision impact. Vehicle airbags may inflate suddenly and without reason, causing serious injuries to occupants. There are also cases where the deployment of the airbag causes vehicle occupants be struck by debris left over from packing.
-- Car seats: Infant seats and child booster seats can also be "defective," and cause serious injuries to infants and young children.
-- Seat Backs: A flimsy or defective seat back may collapse in the event of an accident, causing the occupant to be thrown around inside the vehicle.
-- Accelerator Pedals: Accelerator pedals can stick and/or remain depressed, causing sudden or unintended vehicle acceleration.
-- Vehicle Rollover Accidents: Faulty vehicle design can cause an automobile to be top-heavy. Conditions like full vehicle capacity, strong winds, and sharp turning motions can cause a top-heavy vehicle to flip over.
-- Roof crush: no matter the cause of a roll-over accident, the vehicle roof must be able to sustain the weight of the vehicle and occupants.
Proving that the Automobile and/or Auto Part is Defective
Not only must automobile manufacturers maintain reports on all auto defects, but they must also investigate complaints involving product defects. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA) also investigates and analyzes automobile defects and complaints.
What to do in the event of an Auto Defect Accident
If you or a loved one were injured or killed in an accident involving a defective automobile, there are steps that you can take to protect your right to recover monetary damages.
-- Preserve Evidence: Do not repair or salvage the defective automobile or part. The automobile manufacture will need to inspect the defective component in question, and your legal team will need to present the defective part as an exhibit in trial. It is also recommended that you take pictures of the defective automobile and accident scene.
-- Have the Vehicle Stored: In order to ensure that evidence is not tampered with and made inadmissible in court, the best thing to do is to store the entire defective vehicle and/or part in question. Storing the vehicle can make it much easier to prove the chain of custody in your case and guarantee that the condition of the vehicle doesn't change before it is inspected by expert engineers.
-- Contact an Experienced Attorney Immediately: Retaining sound legal advice and representation is by far one of the most important steps that you can take in your defective automobile case. Only an experienced product liability attorney understands the complexities of preserving evidence in order to illustrate liability in court. My extensive background in these types of cases, as well as my experience in conducting metallurgical investigations, makes me uniquely suited to handle your personal injury and product liability claims.
-- Always be aware of the Statute of Limitation: Complying with state and federal guidelines for statutes of limitation in defective automobile and product liability cases is paramount to preserving your legal right to pursue claims. Generally speaking, you have two years from the time of being injured to present claims against automobile manufacturers, retailers, and/or other related parties. There are several important exceptions to the two-year rule, such as when fraud or concealment may be affected. As your attorney, it is my responsibility to act promptly in processing documentation and meeting all filing deadlines.