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Who Is Liable If a Recalled Car or Truck Caused the Accident?

Monday, February 15, 2021

Most car accidents are preventable and related to human error, such as a driver speeding or driving distracted. Some, however, are connected to defects with the vehicle that a driver has no control over.

Despite safety technologies improving in the automotive industry, 2018 had more light vehicle safety recalls than any other year in US history – 341, according to Stout’s 2019 Automotive Defect & Recall Report. If you get into an accident related to a recalled car or truck, find out who is liable.

Who Is Liable If a Recalled Car or Truck Caused the Accident?

Common Car and Truck Defects

Although many different types of recalled products can cause serious consumer injuries, auto part defects are particularly dangerous. Even a minor auto defect could act as a catalyst for a serious car accident. Common car and truck defects connected to motor vehicle accidents are:

  • Brake failure
  • Sticky gas pedals
  • Tire blowouts
  • Electrical issues
  • Exploding airbags
  • Seat belt malfunctions
  • Seatback failure
  • Problems with the steering column

When a vehicle manufacturer discovers a defect in one of its models, it lawfully must issue a recall. It must also make a reasonable effort to notify buyers of the defect, such as through an ad campaign or direct mail. A recall means the vehicle contains known defects that could be dangerous to consumers. The recall will contain information and safety recommendations for the vehicle’s owner, such as where to take the car for free repairs.

Who Is Responsible?

If a defective vehicle part causes a car or truck accident, an injured party may have a legal claim to damages. Most vehicle defect accidents fall under the category of product liability law. Product liability is a manufacturer or distributor’s legal responsibility for injuries caused by a faulty product. Under Texas’s product liability laws, a manufacturing company may be liable without proof of negligence if the vehicle contained one of three types of defects:

  1. Design flaw
  2. Manufacturing error
  3. Marketing mistake

If the injured party can prove the vehicle contained one of these product defects and that this is what caused the car or truck accident, the manufacturing company will be liable for damages whether or not the company was negligent. Other parties involved with the manufacture and distribution of the vehicle could also bear liability for a crash, such as a retailer, part or component manufacturer, or car dealership.

In a case where the doctrine of strict product liability does not apply, an injured crash victim may still be able to bring a claim based on the theory of negligence. An automaker could be liable based on negligence if it was careless and violated the accepted standards of care for the automotive industry. If the manufacturer knew about a defect but did not disclose it, for example, and this caused a car accident, the manufacturer could be responsible based on negligence.

How Will a Recall Affect a Claim?

Whether or not a recall was in effect at the time of your car or truck accident could affect your right to recover. An automaker may try to refute liability for your accident if you knew or reasonably should have known about the defect due to an ongoing recall.

If the defendant can prove that you received notice by mail of the recall with the company’s recommendation not to drive the car until getting it repaired, for example, this could protect the company from liability for an accident. If, however, your accident occurred before the recall was announced, the company could still be liable.

When to Hire a Product Liability Attorney in Dallas, Texas

A car accident case involving a recalled car or truck with a defect or safety issue can be complex. If you or a loved one was injured in this type of auto accident in Dallas, consult with a vehicle defect attorney for advice. If you have grounds for an injury claim against the manufacturer or another party, your lawyer can help you with the legal process.

Posted by admin at 10:14 pm

How Can I Prove an Injury Is From a Defective Product?

Friday, January 22, 2021

A defective product can cause an immense amount of devastation. Unsuspecting consumers may suffer serious injuries, from lacerations to traumatic brain injuries, due to products that contain defects. You might know your injuries are from a defective product, but unfortunately, this will not be enough to obtain financial compensation from the item’s manufacturer. You must prove that the defective product caused your injury before a court will rule in your favor.

Proving an Injury Is From a Defective Product

What Are the Four Elements Needed for a Product Liability Claim in Texas?

Obtaining compensation for a defective product in Texas involves what is known as a product liability claim. Product liability claims arise when an item that contains a manufacturing, marketing or design defect injures a consumer. If you have a strict product liability claim, you will need to prove four elements to obtain a recovery.

  1. You were using the product as the manufacturer intended.
  2. The product contained a defect.
  3. The product is what caused your injury or property damage.
  4. You suffered compensable losses.

Most product liability claims have different burdens of proof than other types of injury claims in Texas. In a standard personal injury claim, you or your lawyer must prove the defendant’s negligence to hold him or her accountable. In a strict product liability claim, however, you do not need to show that the manufacturer failed to uphold a standard of care in designing or creating the product. It will be enough to show that the item contained a defect and caused your injury.

How to Prove a Connection Between the Defective Product and Your Injury

Even if you do not have to prove a manufacturing company’s negligence, it can be difficult to recover compensation with a product liability claim in Texas. You still have the burden to prove with clear and convincing evidence that the defective product is more than likely what caused your injury or illness. Meeting this burden of proof will first require evidence of your injury.

Proving an injury generally relies on medical documentation. An insurance company, judge or jury will need to see medical evidence that the injury you are claiming exists. Evidence may take the form of medical records, a letter from your doctor or x-rays. If you have a soft-tissue injury, such as a muscle sprain, it can be more difficult to prove that your injury exists, as it will not show up on scans and x-rays. You may need additional proof, such as medical expert testimony, to support your claim in this case.

Once you prove your injury exists, the next step will be establishing actual cause. You will need to prove through a preponderance of the evidence that your injury was directly related to the use of the defective product. If you suffered your injury from another cause, unrelated to the item’s defect, you will not be able to hold the manufacturer responsible.

Common evidence used to prove a causal link between a defective product and an injury includes eyewitness accounts, your injury documentation and expert testimony. Witnesses can testify as to what they saw the day your injury occurred, such as you using the item correctly, the item malfunctioning and it injuring you. Your medical documentation and testimony from medical experts can help prove that your injury would not have occurred but for the product’s defect.

Consult With a Product Liability Attorney for Assistance

Obtaining compensation for an injury from a defective product in Texas takes certain evidence and proof. It is your responsibility as the injured victim to meet your burden of proof if you wish to make the manufacturer or distributor pay for your losses. While the laws of strict product liability make for a lesser burden of proof, eliminating the need to establish negligence, you will still need to show that the defect caused your injury. Hire a product liability attorney for assistance. A lawyer can help you gather and present strong evidence proving your case.

Posted by admin at 7:44 pm

How Can I Prevent Trampoline Injuries?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trampolines can be incredibly fun for children of all ages, and it’s a fantastic activity for the whole family during nice weather. However, trampolines also pose a measure of risk, and it’s important for you to understand the dangers of trampoline use to protect yourself and loved ones from injuries. Some injuries may even lead to lawsuits or other legal entanglements, so know your options in the event of a trampoline injury.

Trampoline Injury Statistics

Between 2002 and 2011, more than a million-people visited the ER for trampoline injuries. Of them, almost 300,000 involved broken bones. These injuries costs emergency departments somewhere in the $1 billion range. Most of those hurt are children, and almost 93% of them were under 16 years old.

Best Practices

The first step in preventing trampoline injuries is to purchase one with the best possible safety ratings. Check online for the highest rated trampolines and read reviews from other customers. Be sure to read the positive reviews as well as the negative, as some people who have bought the trampoline may have experienced issues that could apply to you as well.

Purchase a trampoline with a safety net enclosure – this small additional cost will likely save you in medical bills. The safety net wraps around the outside of the trampoline to prevent anyone from bouncing off and onto the ground, which could cause significant injury. Remember that the safety enclosure will not prevent users from falling into the springs around the outer edge of the trampoline. While some manufacturers have designed trampolines without these springs, most of them have a ring of heavy duty spring that can cause significant injuries.

Once you’ve purchased a trampoline, follow the biggest rule for trampoline safety: only one person at a time should use the trampoline. This sounds like a solid rule in theory, but most kids want to play on their trampolines with their friends and siblings. While it may be difficult for parents to convince their kids that only one person may use the trampoline at a time, enforcing the “one at a time” rule will significantly lower the risk of someone suffering an injury.

Finally, the best way to prevent trampoline injuries is proper supervision. Some kids may get carried away and attempt dangerous tricks and flips that can lead to serious head and neck injuries. Whenever children are using a trampoline, carefully supervise them and prevent them from making any risky maneuvers.

Product Liability Claims

If you or a loved one suffers a trampoline injury, your first instinct may be to blame the manufacturer of the trampoline. While this may seem like sound logic, it’s important to remember that product manufacturers must follow very strict liability standards. If a manufacturer failed to provide adequate safety warnings or sold you a defective product, you may be able to file a product liability claim. However, most companies that make potentially hazardous items are very clear in their instructions for use and safety warnings. If you suffered an injury due to your own actions of misuse of the product, your claim will most likely not hold up in court.

Negligence Claims

In some situations, you may be able to file a personal injury claim if your loved one was under the supervision of another. For example, if your child’s daycare has a trampoline and your child suffers an injury because the daycare staff was not paying adequate attention, the staff may be liable for the injury. Hopefully, you can avoid these injuries by following these tips. After any type of trampoline injury, one of the best things you can do once you’ve addressed any medical concerns is to speak with a personal injury attorney about your possible options for legal recourse.

Posted by admin at 5:09 pm

Can a Consumer Always Sue When a Defective Product Causes Injury?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Product designers, manufacturers, and sellers are responsible for providing consumers with safe and properly marketed products. One of these parties may be liable for an injury if there is a hazardous flaw in the design or manufacturing of the item or if the risks or hazards associated with the product have not been properly labeled.

You can attempt to sue a manufacturer or seller for a defective product related injury, but that does not always mean the lawsuit will lead to design/manufacturing changes or adequate financial compensation. An attorney may not recommend pursuing a product liability action if the injury was too minor to justify legal action, if the client was using a product for purposes other than intended, or if the client was acting carelessly.

Disclaimers: The Possible Exception to Product Liability Lawsuits

Many product manufacturers use warning labels and disclaimers to prevent individuals from filing product liability lawsuits. Much like a liability waiver, a disclaimer can protect a company from certain foreseeable risks associated with a product. For instance, a hair straightener may come with a disclaimer that the product reaches high temperatures and may cause burns or electrocution if dropped in water. However, it may not protect the company from a hair straightener that sparks, overheats, or explodes.

While disclaimers can minimize the liability associated with a product claim, consumers should always seek legal advice before writing off a potential claim. Disclaimers, limited warranties, and warning labels are often not enough to protect a company from dangerous defects.

Understanding Product Liability in Texas

Texas operates under a strict liability rule. Strict liability allows injured individuals to hold a defendant without using the traditional standard of negligence. A plaintiff must only prove the product was sold in a hazardous condition, the seller or manufacturer knew the product would reach the consumer in that state, and the product caused the injury or harm. Proving a breach of warranty in addition to liability may strengthen a plaintiff’s case.

Breach of Warranty Cases

In addition to suing a manufacturer for a defective product, a consumer may also hold a company liable for breaching an implied or express warranty. Express warranties are written or stated protections that come with several types of products, and many provide for standard replacement or repair services for a period of time.

Implied warranties apply to every product and require goods to pass certain criteria as sellable. In Texas, a product must pass a test of merchantability. If a product is not of reasonable quality, fit for use, or appropriately packaged, the seller may be liable for any resulting defects, product problems, or injuries.

Breach of warranty cases may not require any physical injury, but can strengthen defective product cases. All a plaintiff needs to prove is that the seller did not meet the expectations set forth in an implied and/or expressed warranty. For instance, if you purchase a smartphone to help you with your business, but the seller sold you a product that only handles calls and texts, you may hold him or her liable for failing to sell a merchantable “smartphone.” To successfully win the lawsuit, you will need to prove the breach of warranty caused you serious harm (e.g. prevented you from conducting business).

Finding a Product Liability Attorney

Some injured individuals living in Dallas may not know if they have a legitimate personal injury claim until they speak to an attorney who specializes in defective products. Keep all your warranty and packaging material, and try to preserve as much of the product as possible. All of these items may help your attorney determine if pursuing a defective product/breach of warranty claim makes sense. For a free case evaluation, reach out to the Law Offices of Aaron A. Herbert PC.

Posted by admin at 11:47 pm