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Products Liability in Car Accidents: When Neither Driver is at Fault

Posted on in Car Accidents

car accident liability, products liability in car accidents, Illinois Personal Injury LawyerWhen most people question the cause of fault for a traffic accident, they often focus on the drivers and assume that one must have made a mistake. While this is probably true in a majority of car accidents, there may be another set of parties responsible: the cars' manufacturers.

According to statistics reported by Car and Driver, there are millions of cars recalled every year. These production errors can result in serious, or fatal, car crashes. Fortunately, the law does provide a way for victims to recover for injuries caused by careless car manufacturers: products liability law.

How Products Liability Works

Ordinarily, three factors must be proven in a products liability case. First, the plaintiff must show that the defendant manufactured or sold the plaintiff's car, and that the defendant was in the business of making or selling cars. Second, the plaintiff must show that he or she was injured as a result of an unreasonably dangerous defect in the car. Third, the plaintiff must show that the defect existed when he or she received the car.

The first and third parts are reasonably simple, factual matters; either the company made the car or it did not. However, determining exactly what qualifies as “unreasonably dangerous” is a much more complicated task.

Types of Unreasonably Dangerous Defects

The law recognizes three separate ways that a car can be unreasonably dangerous. First, a car can be unreasonably dangerous based on a design defect. A design defect arises when a car's designers made it in such a way that there is some built-in flaw, such as a sharp piece of metal that easily punctures a gas tank during crashes. The law recognizes two separate tests for determining whether a design is defective. Either the plaintiff can show that the flaw makes the car more dangerous than a consumer would reasonably expect, or he or she can show that the benefits of the design are insufficient to justify the dangerous design.

The second type of unreasonably dangerous defect is a manufacturing defect. These defects are not built-in by design. Instead, they arise as a result of a mistake in the manufacturing of a car. For instance, if a car has a defective brake line installed that snaps and causes a person's brakes to fail, this would be considered a manufacturing defect.

The final type of defect is a failure to warn. Failure to warn does not arise as a result of a problem with a product, but rather relates to the failure on the part of the manufacturer to warn an injured party of some non-obvious danger that could arise from using the car. Similarly, it can also arise if a manufacturer or seller provided inadequate instructions on the use of some feature of the car.

Car accidents can give rise to a variety of different legal claims. If you have been involved in an accident and want to learn more about your options, contact a dedicated McHenry County personal injury attorney today.
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