When an accident occurs because of a faulty component or defective vehicle as a whole, several legal theories of liability play a role in the case. Your attorney must decide which theory of liability applies specifically to your case. Once liability is determined, he or she can then begin the legal process aimed at holding the culpable party responsible for your injuries.
What Theories of Liability Apply to a Defective Vehicle Case?
Three legal theories of liability apply in a defective vehicle case, which includes:
- Breach of Expressed Warranty – A breach of expressed warranty means that the component or vehicle had a written warranty or guarantee with the product. The defect could then be considered a violation of that guarantee.
- Breach of Implied Warranty – States have minimum standards on products when it comes to what is an implied warranty. A defect in your vehicle could violate these minimum standards, whether expressed in the warranty or not.
- Strict Product Liability Law – In most cases, a product defect falls under the strict liability rules. These laws relieve you of the burdensome task of showing that the supplier, manufacturer, or dealership knew that there was a defect in their product. Instead, you only must prove that the defect caused your accident, injuries, and damages.
Proving Liability with a Defective Vehicle
The hardest part of this type of claim is that you must show that it was your defective vehicle, or a faulty component thereof, that led to your accident and injuries. To win the suit, you and your attorney must establish three essential items:
- You were injured and suffered damages (financial, physical, and emotional damages);
- The vehicle was defective by manufacturing, design, or breach of warranty somehow;
- The defect is what led to your injury.
While these are the three essential elements, there is much more involved in proving your claim than saying all three apply. That is why it imperative you hire an attorney.
When Does a Class Action Lawsuit Apply?
For some vehicle defect cases, it may turn into a class action lawsuit. If the vehicle was mass-produced and the defect is widespread, it is more likely that plaintiffs will work together and seek class-action status from the court. Also, the manufacturer may issue a recall to prevent further injuries. A recall, however, does not excuse the manufacturer from injuries that occurred before and after the recall. You have no obligation to join an existing class action. Therefore, it is important that you speak with an injury attorney to see if it is in your best interest to join an existing class action lawsuit, or sue the manufacturer yourself. If you have special circumstances or a substantial amount of damages, it may be better to file solo.
Speak with an Attorney Regarding Your Accident
If you were involved in an accident due to a defective vehicle or defective component on your vehicle, contact the attorneys at Jacobs Law, LLC. Our product liability attorneys are here to ensure you receive compensation for your accident and to hold manufacturers responsible for their products. To get started, contact our office by phone or reach out to us online.