A motor vehicle defect is defined as any defect in performance, construction, a component, or material of a motor vehicle or equipment that poses a risk to motor vehicle safety. Defect-related accidents should never happen; yet, every year, hundreds of people end up in the hospital because of a crash relating to a defective auto part. Design flaws, manufacturing mistakes, and marketing errors can all lead to vehicles that are unfit to operate.
The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. has helped Dallas car accident victims recover their losses from negligent and at-fault parties for years. Attorney Aaron Herbert has personally handled more than 50 jury trials and won clients six- and seven-figure judgments and settlement awards. Aaron and his team of skilled attorneys can help you or your loved one after a harmful defect-related auto accident in Texas.
Our law firm helps victims hold the responsible manufacturers accountable for defect-related crashes. We can help you explore your legal options and assess the value of your case in a free consultation with a Dallas vehicle defect attorney.
Why Do I Need an Attorney If a Vehicle Defect Caused My Injuries?
Vehicle manufacturers are some of the largest companies in the world and have significant resources to fight lawsuits and battle against the allegations of injured accident victims. The last thing a major auto manufacturing company wants is a lawsuit for producing defective and dangerous parts. Lawsuits cost defendants valuable time and money, not to mention the damage a publicized vehicle defect lawsuit can have on the company’s reputation. Do not go up against a vehicle manufacturer alone. Retain our vehicle defect attorneys for powerful legal representation.
You need an advocate on your side as soon as possible to collect evidence, hire experts and protect your best interests. Vehicle defect claims can be extremely complex, often requiring resources that not every law firm has. At the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C., we have both the skills and the resources to effectively handle vehicle defect cases. We operate on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you won’t pay for our services unless we win you a monetary award. Our fees come out of what we win for you, not out of your own pocket.
Vehicle Defect Statistics
Although the majority of car accidents stem from driver mistakes and other human errors, about 2% of all accidents (44,000 vehicles) stemmed from vehicle-related problems in 2015. Vehicle probelms as a critical crash factor can include defective parts as well as breakdowns from lack of proper maintenance. They refer to failed tires, brakes, steering columns, and more. Tire problems were the most frequently cited, accounting for 35%. Brake problems accounted for 22%, while “other vehicle-related problems” accounted for about 40%.
Each year, millions of vehicles end up on national recall lists for part failures and potential defects. In fact, between 1997 and 2017, over 448 million vehicles were affected by recalls (in 10,171 separate recalls) due to defects in the United States.
Another 124 million vehicles were affected by equipment defect recalls, 33 million due to tire defects and 29 million due to child seat defects.
U.S. Vehicle Defect Recalls
A recall occurs when either the vehicle manufacturer or a vehicle safety organization announces a discovered vehicle defect, giving car owners the opportunity to replace or repair their vehicles as necessary free of cost. Some of the worst auto defects in history have taken the lives of thousands of innocent people. For example, the recent General Motors ignition switch recall left 124 people dead and 275 injured.
How Do I Know If a Vehicle Defect Caused My Injuries?
After a car accident, your immediate concern should be over your own well-being. Go to the hospital immediately and receive prompt medical care. Once you’re able to look back on the cause of the crash, you will likely need professional assistance in ascertaining the factors involved. Police and insurance companies will conduct their own investigations of your accident to identify the cause(s). If a vehicle defect caused the accident or injuries, an investigation should be able to reveal the defective part.
When you retain a vehicle defect attorney, you benefit from a wealth of knowledge, tools, and resources to help you get to the bottom of who or what caused your crash. Our lawyers can look beyond factors such as another driver and examine the elements of the vehicle itself. Whether you were in a single-vehicle crash or a pile up, our team can investigate your vehicle and uncover whether a defective tire, brake system, airbag, seatbelt, or other part caused or contributed to your injuries.
Common Vehicle Defects
Virtually any component of a vehicle can have a defect that creates a hazard for drivers; however, some defective parts are more common and dangerous than others. Our law firm has enough experience handling defective auto part claims that we can recognize when accidents and injuries likely occurred due to a common defect type. The following are five vehicle defects that have happened frequently:
- Airbag defects. Airbags should deploy at exactly the right moment to provide the best protection to the driver and occupants. Late or early deployment, failure to deploy, or deploying for no reason are airbag defects that can cause accidents or exacerbate injuries.
- Seatbelt defects. Seatbelts can greatly lower the risk of serious injuries in a vehicle collision. If a defective seatbelt comes unclipped in a crash, occupants can suffer fatal injuries that otherwise might have been minor.
- Seatback failure. Seatback failures have injured and killed backseat occupants when the driver or passenger’s side front seat collapses back in an accident. Seatback failures are a type of poor performance that can happen even in minor rear-end collisions, making resultant injuries much more severe than they otherwise would have been.
- Electrical component failures. If any of the many electrical parts in a vehicle fails, it can spark a deadly car fire. Defective electrical systems, loose wires, battery charging malfunction, or a bad alternator could all result in fires that cause accidents or make a crash worse by bursting into flames.
- Tire defects. Tire defects from the manufacturer can result in the tire deteriorating much quicker than it should. Prematurely bald or torn tires can blow out while on the road, posing a risk of the vehicle flipping over or wrecking.
The list of common vehicle defects is long and includes roofs that collapse in rollovers, unintended acceleration, brake failure, power steering failure, fuel system defects, windshield wiper failure, and unsafe critical vehicle components. If you or someone you love recently suffered injuries in an accident where you suspect a defect, call our Dallas law office as soon as possible.
Vehicle Defect Laws, Texas and U.S.
The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 instated new regulations for vehicle manufacturing safety standards. This federal law allows the U.S. government to enforce mandatory motor vehicle safety standards. Under the Safety Act, all motor vehicles must contain headrests, seatbelts, shatter-resistant windshields, and energy-absorbing steering wheels. Many other federal standards also pertain to the design and manufacture of motor vehicles. If a manufacturer fails to fulfill these standards, it is guilty of negligence.
In Texas, like all states, product liability laws decide how injured accident victims can go about bringing lawsuits against responsible auto part manufacturers. These laws state that a victim does not have to prove a manufacturer’s negligence as long as he or she can show the car had a defect and the defect caused the injury. This can work in the victim’s favor, as he or she has a lesser burden of proof. Crash victims have two years from the date of injury to file a product liability claim, or a maximum of 15 years if they discover injuries later.
Texas also has a “Lemon Law” that allows vehicle owners to replace, repair, or repurchase new vehicles they buy that contain manufacturer defects. The Lemon Law doesn’t exactly deal with defect-related auto accidents, but it does make consumers eligible for financial relief to compensate for attempts to repair a defective vehicle. If you’ve taken your vehicle to the dealership for repairs four times for the same defect within two years, you could be eligible for financial reparation and/or vehicle replacement.
Damages Available in Auto Defect Cases
The “damages” available in a claim refer to the monetary awards you could receive in an insurance settlement or court judgment award to repay you for your accident-related damages. The amount of damages you secure will depend on the extent of your injuries, cost of property damage, and the skill of your attorney. You could recover compensation for the following losses in Texas:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Property damage repairs or replacement
- Lost wages from missed time at work
- Lost capacity to earn from a temporary or permanent disability
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Lost quality of life or enjoyment of life
The attorney you choose can make all the difference in the damages you receive for an auto defect claim in Texas. Lawyers with trial experience, such as attorney Aaron A. Herbert, optimize your chances of maximum compensation with the ability to take a claim to trial. While most product liability claims successfully settle without needing a court trial, the fact that you could take your claim to court is often enough to spark a higher settlement offer. Vehicle manufacturers want to avoid costly and time-consuming trials and may therefore offer higher settlement amounts.
Contact Us for a Free Auto Defect Case Evaluation
At the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C., we’re here for drivers and passengers who suffer injuries because of vehicle defects. If you suffered broken bones, head/brain injuries, spine injuries, burns, lacerations, or a loved one died in a recent Dallas auto accident, call us to explore your rights. If an investigation finds evidence of an auto defect that may have contributed to the crash, we can help you bring an official product liability claim against the responsible party or parties. Our team will take care of all the legwork for you while you focus on getting well.
Schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation today. We’ll meet with you in person or discuss your case over the phone, assessing the merits of your claim and helping you take the next steps. Call (214) 200-4878 to speak to one of our attorneys or contact us online and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.