Car accidents are an unfortunate and common incident on Pittsburgh roads and freeways today. Most car accidents are the result of careless driving or poor road conditions. However, sometimes car accidents happen due to a malfunction with the vehicle itself. These types of malfunctions can point to a products liability claim often. Instances of products liability often occur due to design defect or manufacturing defect on behalf of the vehicle manufacturer.
The process for filing a claim for products liability issues resulting in a car accident is different than filing an ordinary personal injury claim for negligence after a motor vehicle accident. In a products liability case, in order to establish the seller or manufacturer's liability for the car defect, the plaintiff need not show that either of the parties acted carelessly. Liability in a motor vehicle defect case is, instead, dictated by the doctrine of strict liability. Strict liability is determined by a three-fold checklist that needs to be proven by evidence related to the said defective vehicle. Strict liability has been known to be more difficult to prove than negligence claims; however it can be very easy for someone who has suffered personal injury due to a clearly defective auto part.
The first element that must be proven is that the vehicle itself or one of its components was so unreasonably defective that the defect caused danger and the resulting injury. Secondly, the injury must have occurred during a time of reasonable use with the vehicle, such as driving on the freeway, not trying to drive through a body of water. Thirdly, the vehicle must be, essentially, in the same form as it was when it was purchased. They owner of the vehicle may not have substantially changed the condition of the vehicle. Depending on the age of the vehicle and the number of owners this can be a hiccup for injured parties that their vehicle saw significant auto repair.
Instances of a devastating rollover accident and other tragedies have been known to occur due to a defective auto part or vehicle. Some of the most famous examples of automobile defect are errors in design that are inherently dangerous to all drivers who get behind the wheel of the automobile. For example, an ill-placed gas tank could spell disaster if involved in a common-place rear-end car accident. For those that have suffered personal injury due to a defective vehicle it is important to understand how these claims differ from the traditional car accident personal injury claim.
Source: Findlaw, "Car Defect Injury Claims," Accessed Dec. 28, 2015