Companies that sell unreasonable dangerous products that injure consumers end up liable for those injuries. Of the most famous product liability lawsuits in history, car manufactures top the list. One such case was the Toyota gas pedal case. After a class action lawsuit, Toyota was forced to recall more than four million of its vehicles. The cars had an issue with the gas pedal sticking to the floor mat after the driver pressed it to accelerate, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Similarly, GM has recalled nearly 30 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches that cause the car to shut off while driving.
Types of Car Defects
Car defects that prohibit the car from functioning properly can cause serious injury or even death. As with all product liability cases, the plaintiff must show that was injured as a result of the car defect and that the car was defective at the time it was sold. The car may be deemed defective for one of two reasons. First, a manufacturing defect suggests that the particular car was not made according to the specifications of its design. The second possible source of a defect is a design defect. A design defect suggests that the engineers designed the car to be unreasonable dangerous compared to an alternative design. In that case, even if the car was made exactly according to the designs specifications, it could still be considered defective.
Liability for Car Defects
Car defects fall under product defect law. In other types of cases, the plaintiff must prove the defendant acted negligently. However, in Ohio, like many other states, product manufacturers are strictly liable for injuries. In product liability cases, the defendant’s behavior is not considered. The courts realized that it was too difficult for plaintiffs, who were injured through no fault of their own, to prove that the defendant had acted negligently. Thus, the plaintiff must show the car had either a manufacturing or design defect and that the car was defective at the time of sale.
Strict liability does not mean automatically liable. Manufactures have possible defenses against liability. A possible defense is unforeseeable misuse (i.e. using the car for unintended uses during which a defect caused an injury). The use must be both unintended and unforeseeable. While going 100 miles per hour may be a misuse of the car, it is a foreseeable misuse. If the car was defective while travelling above 100 miles per hour and the driver was injured as a result, the manufacturer may still be liable.
If you are a loved one were injured because your vehicle was defective, it’s important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options for compensation. To speak with one of our Cleveland, Ohio, car accident attorneys contact the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers today.