Proving a Defective Liability Claim

iStock_000013732170_FullYou may have a defective product liability claim if you have been injured from a product you used, including a defective car, SUV, truck, motorcycle, ATV, or any motor vehicle with a defective part. Commonly, product liability claims involving defective cars involve:

  • Cars sold with tires that are prone to blowouts
  • Motorcycles that become unstable when driven at high speeds
  • SUVs and ATVs that are prone to rolling over

Typically product liability claims involving defective motor vehicles come in two categories. The first category involves defectively manufactured vehicles or vehicle parts. This type of claim has to do with vehicles or vehicle parts that were improperly manufactured, either from an error at the manufacturing facility, or due to a mistake that occurred during shipping or at the dealership.

The second category is vehicles with an unreasonably dangerous design. In this category, vehicles and parts are properly manufactured, but they are unreasonably dangerous in their design which resulted in injury or damages. Often, products in these types of claims have been on the market for a significant amount of time before consumers discovered their dangerous design.

One of the most important things in creating your product liability case is identifying all the potential defendants in your claim. In any time of defective product liability claim, it is advised to include everyone involved in the chain of distribution for your product. The “chain of distribution” refers to the path your product took to get from the manufacturer to you, the consumer. In product liability cases involving motor vehicles, you should usually include the following participants as possible defendants:

  • Manufacturer. In this type of claim, the manufacturer will typically be a large company. This can be beneficial, because large companies will have more money to pay your damages. However, large companies also have the means to hire a team of high-priced lawyers to defend the company.
  • Parts manufacturer. the parts manufacturer is very important to include if your case involves a defective part, such as the tires or the battery. The parts manufacturer is sometimes separate from the vehicle manufacturer. You should bring your claim against both the parts manufacturer and the vehicle manufacturer, unless you purchased the defective part separately, in which case the vehicle manufacture would not be liable.
  • Car dealership or automotive supply shop. The vendor of your vehicle of the vehicle’s defective part may be held liable, even if you were not the actual buyer.
  • Middleman or shipper. Any shipping company or other entity that was involved with the distribution of your vehicle between the manufacturers and the dealership or retailer may be held liable for your defective vehicle or vehicle part.
  • Used car dealer. The car dealer may be held liable in certain cases, even if the defective vehicle was bought used. However, this area of the law may vary from state to state and depending on the specific circumstances of your case.

In any type of defective product liability claim, in order to win your case you will have to prove:

  • The product (your vehicle) was either improperly manufactured or unreasonable dangerous by design,
  • You were injured or suffered other losses, and;
  • The defective product or part cause your injury or losses.


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