Automobiles are designed to protect their drivers, and car companies spend millions of dollars advertising safety features to appeal to their customers. While vehicle safety has definitely improved over the last few decades, various components in cars can still fail. When this happens vehicles can become extremely dangerous and cause injuries or even death.
There are a wide variety of defects that vehicles can be subject to. Some common ones in the past few decades have included:
This occurs when a car unexpectedly accelerates without the gas pedal being depressed, increasing the risk of an accident. In 2014, a massive scandal involving millions of Toyota vehicles accused of unintended acceleration and multiple deaths prompted a $1.2 billion settlement.
Improper Airbag Deployment
Improper airbag deployment occurs when the vehicle's airbag fails to inflate in the event of an accident or unexpectedly inflates while the car is in motion. Recently, the Takata Corporation of Japan has taken massive criticism for producing airbags which exploded randomly while the car was in motion, killing 11 people in the US alone.
Brake or Power Steering Failure
The sudden failure of steering or brakes, while a car is being driven, creates a serious risk that an accident will occur. GM recalled millions of units after an ignition issue caused cars to turn off on the road, a factor in over 100 deaths
Seat Belt Failure
This occurs when a seat belt buckle fails to stay secured during an accident, negating the protection afforded by this safety device and creating a risk of injury for drivers and passengers alike.
Unsafe Vehicle Design
A design defect can increase the risk of injury or death in the event of an accident, especially if the design varies significantly from the industry safety standard.
This list provides only a few examples of the myriad of potential defects that drivers may experience. Defects can be scary even when they don't cause accidents, and can the justify class action lawsuits for loss of resale value or dishonest advertising. When they contribute to injury or even cause deaths, car companies, dealerships, or manufacturing corporations can, and should, be held responsible for their products and promises.
Proving Automobile Defects
As with any product liability case, the plaintiff claiming an auto defect will need to prove that
- You have suffered an injury or loss
- The product was defective
- The product was being used reasonably and as intended by the defendant
- The defect caused your injury
If you are proceeding on a claim of strict liability then you do not need to prove that the defendant was negligent. The car manufacturer or corporation can be held liable for your injuries just by producing a defective product which caused or contributed to your injuries.
In order to successfully argue that a car was defective AND that the defect contributed to or caused an injury or death, you will need to involve automobile professionals who can provide expert testimony. Accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, and witnesses can also provide essential information to the court about the cause of the accident. Since car companies will certainly have experienced and highly paid legal resources at their disposal, it is imperative to obtain aid from an attorney who is experienced in products liability law if you are considering filing this type of claim.
Nevada Lemon Law
In some cases, the Nevada lemon law may provide an alternative to product liability, especially if the car defect did not cause any injury or accident. This law states that any car purchased new, can be considered a “lemon” if it has
- Failed in at least 4 attempts to repair the same issue during the warranty period or within 1 year of the original vehicle delivery, or
- Been out of service for at least 30 days during the warranty period or 1 year—whichever comes first.
If your car falls under one of these two rubrics, the manufacturer is required to replace your car with a comparable model free of charge or allow you to return the car for a full refund, minus a “reasonable allowance for use.” If the manufacturer argues with you or refuses to replace or refund your car, you may need the assistance of a lawyer who can act as an intermediary between you and the manufacturer.
Advocating for Nevada Victims of Automobile Defects
Automobile defects can be difficult to prove because there are multiple factors in the case and a variety of ways that corporations can defend themselves. For instance, they might concede that the defect exists, but argue that it did not contribute to or cause an accident. Alternatively, they might say that the plaintiff failed to take appropriate safety precautions and caused the car to malfunction.
If you are considering making a product liability claim involving an auto defect, call The Jacks Law Group today at (702) 834-6300 or contact us online and let us use our resources to evaluate and prepare your case.