Houston Deadly Defective Vehicles Lawyer
The mission of the National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) is to “save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce vehicle-related crashes.” As such, under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the administration has the power to order vehicle or parts recalls whenever there are health or safety-related reasons to do so. Since 1966, the NHTSA has recalled almost 400 million cars, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, buses, and other types of recreational vehicles, as well as almost 50 million tires, and over 100 million seats and other pieces of motor vehicle equipment.
Despite these recalls, and despite the oversight and diligence of the NHTSA, malfunctioning equipment still finds their way to public roads, and as a result, freak accidents happen all the time. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident that was caused by a deadly and defective vehicle part, give us a call. We can help you identify at-fault parties, establish the links between your injuries and the accident that you need to establish for your claim to be successful, and help you get your life back together after suffering the sudden and unexpected shock of being involved in a crash.
Key Differences Between Ordinary Accidents and Defective Vehicle Accidents
An important difference between ordinary accident injury claims and claims for accidents that are caused by defective vehicle parts is that negligence does not have to be established for the latter.
To win an ordinary accident claim, what you usually have to do is prove that recklessness, carelessness, or negligence of someone else caused you to suffer damages such as property damage or personal injury and that you suffered or will suffer monetary losses as a result of those injuries. However, cases involving defective parts are governed by what is known as the doctrine of strict liability, and they are assessed in the following way:
A vehicle can be considered to have been unreasonably dangerous if it had design defects, or if product defects came about during the manufacture, shipping, or handling of the vehicle. A failure to warn end users of potentially dangerous aspects of the vehicle would also be considered when evaluating how deadly or dangerous a vehicle is.
As a result of those design or manufacturing defects, you suffered an injury despite using the product or vehicle in the way it was meant to be used. The injury can be minor, such as cuts or scratches, or major, such as broken bones, brain trauma, or soft tissue damage.
Finally, the doctrine of strict liability will apply if the vehicle in question was not overhauled or substantially changed from how it was when it was first sold to the consumer.
Rebutting Defect Claims and Levying Punitive Damages
Manufacturers who are faced with a deadly defective vehicle claim will often try to prove that the user owned or used the vehicle in question for long enough to know about the defect, and since they continued to use the vehicle anyway, they must be held responsible for the accident themselves. This is an extension of the contributory negligence doctrine which states that victims who suffer an injury may themselves be partly responsible for causing the accident that caused their injuries to begin with.
Furthermore, such cases often involve punitive damages because manufacturers are generally thought of as knowing everything there is to be known about their products, and a defect that slips through and affects potentially millions of parts or vehicles is simply not acceptable. What lawyers often try to do in defective parts cases is try to prove that the manufacturer used a cost-benefit analysis and decided against a costly recall.
The way this works is as follows. If a manufacturer learns of a defect in its parts or vehicles, it can calculate how much a recall would cost. They would then compare the cost of a recall against the cost of insurance payouts as calculated by the probability of an accident occurring multiplied by the average cost of each settlement. If the cost of payouts is lower than the cost of a recall, they won’t issue one.
Punitive damages can, therefore, be awarded if it can be proven that a manufacturer did not issue a recall simply because the cost of doing so was higher than the cost of paying injury and damages settlements despite the manufacturer knowing about the defect.
Call Us Today for Help with a Deadly Defective Vehicle Case
Our Houston car accident lawyers have decades of combined experience in the fields of auto insurance, vehicle litigation, personal injury, and awards settlements. Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, we will gather evidence, identify at-fault parties, walk you through the laws and regulations that apply to you, and negotiate with the relevant insurance companies or manufacturers to get you the maximum settlement to which you are entitled. Call us today at 713-677-2253 for a no-obligation evaluation of your case. Call now.
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