Dallas Defective Vehicle and Auto Parts Lawyers, Texas
Skilled auto product liability advocacy for car accident victims
The manufacturers of cars and car parts have a duty to ensure their products are safe which includes mitigating against injuries in a crash. Manufacturers, distributors, and sellers of cars and car parts can be held liable if a product defect causes an accident or fails to mitigate serious injuries or even death in a collision.
At Slack Davis Sanger, our Dallas defective vehicle lawyers have a strong record of success trying cases in court and negotiating settlements with the insurance carriers and auto manufacturers. We work with product safety experts who are able to show why the product was defective. We work with biomechanical engineers to show how the injury could have been prevented. We are the firm of choice for many Dallas residents because we pay attention to the small details, thoroughly prepare your case, and persuasively argue the law and the facts with adjusters and defense lawyers. Contact us to learn why so many other law firms choose us to handle complex product liability claims.
What is a product liability case?
There are several key elements to an auto defect case. The first part of a claim is determining whether the car or car part was defective. You may be able to bring an auto product liability claim if you are injured and sustain damages because:
- The vehicles or parts are designed improperly.The vehicles and the parts need to be designed so that it doesn’t fail during operation and that it is able to provide occupant protection during reasonably foreseeable crashes. The design should be good enough so that it works when you need protection while you drive and during crashes.
- The manufacturing process is faulty. The fault may be due to the use of cheap or shoddy parts. The manufacturing process may be defective because the manufacturer tried to cut corners. There is no excuse for using subquality materials
- There is a failure to warn.Car parts and cars come with manuals or guides that explain when and how to use the parts. If there are risks with the vehicles or their parts, consumers must be made aware of them.
In most product liability cases, our lawyers also assert the defendants were negligent, and the warranties were breached. All car accident victims have the right to file product liability claims if the car/car part was defective when the accident happened.
What types of auto product defects lead to injuries?
Some defective auto parts are more likely to cause injury than others. For example, if your radio knobs fall off, it’s an inconvenience, but it won’t be life-threatening. In general, auto defects lead to a lack of crashworthiness, and that can be deadly for everyone. At Slack Davis Sanger, we represent clients who have suffered life-altering and life-ending injuries caused by:
Defective seatbelts. When these car parts work, they can often save lives or reduce the severity of a car occupant’s injuries. When these restraint devices do not work, occupants can be killed because they fly about the car, are ejected from the car, or collide with other people in the car.
Defective airbags. Airbags can be defective if they fail to deploy, deploy when they should not, deploy with too much force, or deploy too late.
Defective fuel systems. If the fuel tank is not in the correct location, the welding fails, the fuel line is not properly shielded, or there are other defects, the vehicle can catch fire or explode in a foreseeable crash resulting in tragic results.
Defective tires. Most tires today are manufactured in layers, and then through heat and pressure are vulcanized into a monolithic component. However, if there is debris or faulty manufacturing, the tire can delaminate causing the vehicle to lose control. There are also design issues of a tire that can result in delamination. A tire delamination is different than a tire blow out! A tire blow out can be caused by numerous factors whereas a tire delamination is almost always caused by a defect.
Defective gear shifters. When a car shifts gear while in motion, it can result in a car crash. When it shifts while stopped, the vehicle can roll over passersby or even drivers. Defective gear shifters are an issue in many different vehicles.
Defective sensors. Vehicles these days are more computer than machine. Sensors are everywhere, and their failure can lead to the failure of air bag deployment, seat belt deployment, sudden acceleration or deceleration, door lock failure, and more.
Roof structures. Roofs (especially in SUVs and trucks) should not collapse in a rollover. Roofs should be designed to withstand most rollover accidents. Roof crush causes spinal cord injuries, head injuries and even fatalities. Roof crush can be the result of bad design, or bad manufacturing.
Seat back failure. Seat backs can fail as a result of a rear end collision. When that happens, it can cause injuries to the occupants in those seats when the occupant is thrown into the back seat, or can cause injuries to the occupants in the back seat. Seat back failure can be the result of bad design, i.e. the seat wasn’t strong enough, or bad manufacturing.
Some auto defects can cause injuries even without a crash. Audi has an on-again/off-again problem with cars spontaneously combusting. No matter what circumstances led to your injuries, if a defective auto was the root cause, you can make a claim.
Product liability for autonomous vehicles
One new area of auto product liability cases are autonomous vehicles. More and more car manufacturers are building cars that aim to help the driver avoid collisions, but some manufacturers are even working on cars that drive themselves. While these computer features may have safety benefits, the computer software and hardware must operate properly when used. Dallas car accident victims and families can file a car part liability case if defective computer systems cause a car crash. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating Tesla because its Autopilot system keeps causing collisions with parked EMS vehicles. If you are an EMS worker who was injured in a collision with a Tesla, you may be able to file a claim.
Who is liable if a car defect causes death or injury?
The primary defendant in auto defect liability cases is the manufacturer. The manufacturer can be a company like General Motors or Toyota, but it can also be the maker of one of the parts of the car that is installed into the vehicle when it is built, like Takata. In some product liability cases, multiple manufacturers may be liable.
Other defendants may include:
- The distributor – the company that works with the manufacturer to sell the car across the globe and in Dallas showrooms
- The retailer - the company directly sells the vehicle to the car buyer
- A used car dealer may also be liable
- A car repair company that was aware of the defective car part and failed to fix the part correctly
How does a car recall affect a product liability lawsuit in Dallas?
Car recalls are normally initiated because there is a concern about the safety of a vehicle. Car recalls can be initiated by the car or car part manufacturer. Many auto recalls are initiated by the NHTSA. Car manufacturers that fail to remove their vehicles from the road after a recall (or fail to take corrective measures) should be held liable if the defective car part then causes an accident.
In many cases, the car manufacturer was aware that a part is defective. This awareness may be due to prior legal complaints that have been filed, complaints to various consumer protection agencies, and car recalls.
There is no requirement that there be a recall in order to file a Dallas auto defect lawsuit. The recall just provides additional notice to consumers (who are made aware of the recall) and to manufacturers that the car is dangerous. The NHTSA monitors the recalls to make sure the car manufacturers are providing safe remedies.
What kinds of damages are available in auto product liability lawsuits?
In any personal injury claim, you may be entitled to medical expenses, lost wages, property losses, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. In the event of a death, you may be entitled to burial and funeral expenses, too.
Product liability claims, however, may also entitle you to punitive damages if the manufacturing defect was especially egregious, or if the manufacturer put its profits ahead of its consumers’ safety and kept making a dangerous product. In many cases, these types of lawsuits – especially when they involve multi-district litigation or class action claims – end up forcing manufactures to do things differently. Product liability laws and lawsuits are why the Ford Pinto is no longer on the market, why Takata airbags are banned, and why Volkswagen had to fix its emissions systems. These claims are not just a way to seek compensation for losses; they are a way to make the world a better and safer place.
Make the call to our experienced defective auto lawyers today
At Slack Davis Sanger, our Dallas defective car lawyers have the experience and resources to hold manufacturers liable when their defects cause death or catastrophic injuries. These cases require experienced lawyers because manufacturers know if there is one large verdict against them, many other lawsuits may follow – so the manufacturers hire the best lawyers they can use. We are skilled at filing cases against the biggest corporations and the toughest defense lawyers. We represent anyone injured or the family of anyone killed in a Dallas vehicle accident.
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219
Main Dallas Practice Areas