The term products liability refers to defective and dangerous products which cause both personal injury and property damage. Every year in the U.S. thousands of people suffer serious injury, wrongful death or serious property damage as a result of using a defective and dangerous product.
Product liability refers to a manufacturer or seller being held liable for placing a defective or dangerous product into the hands of consumers. Responsibility for a product defect that causes personal injury or wrongful death can apply to all sellers of the product in the distribution chain. This would include the product manufacturer, a manufacturer of component parts, the wholesaler or the retail store that sold the product.
Generally, a product can be defective or dangerous in one of three situations. First, there could be a manufacturing defect which resulted in the product being dangerous. Second, there might be a design flaw that causes the product to be inherently dangerous. Lastly, there may be a marketing defect, where a dangerous condition exists and is known by the manufacturer or seller which could have and should have been warned against but was not. Any one or all of these conditions could lead to serious personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage.
Common Defective Consumer Products Include:
- Dangerous children’s toys and clothing
- Saws and electrical tools
- Circular saws
- Farm equipment
- Automotive defects
- Defective roof
- Roof crushing / rollovers
- Rollover protection systems
- Boats and watercraft accidents
- Medical devices, hip implants, prescription medications
- Weight lifting equipment
- Industrial equipment
- ATVs, four-wheelers, and other utility vehicles (UTVs) without proper stability causing rollovers, having improper warnings, lacking doors and seat belts causing paralysis and death
- Cars and trucks and their component parts such as tires and seat belts, rollovers, roof crush, seat back failures, fires, gas tank explosions
If you have sustained a serious personal injury due to a defective product, please give us a call at 512-478-2211
Austin Auto Defect Lawyers
When consumers purchase and drive a motor vehicle, they assume it will keep them and their families safe. Unfortunately, due to poor designs, poor manufacturing, or carelessness on a corporation’s part, certain vehicles may result in serious injuries or death.
Common defects in motor vehicles:
- Ford roof crush and rollovers
- Audi seatback failures causing paralysis or death
- Goodyear tire defects
- Tread on tires
- Honda and Acura seatback failures
- Lexus airbag failures
- Volkswagen emissions
- Defective component parts causing serious injury or death such as tires, seatbelts, and seatback failures.
- Manufacturing defects
- Design defects
- Failure to warn
- Roof crushing
- Post-crash fires/explosions
- Fuel tank fires
- Braking failures
- Seat belts
- Seat back failures
Automobile Roof Strength
Per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, More than 10,000 people die each year in rollover crashes. These deaths can be prevented if the roof of the vehicle had been made stronger. When vehicles roll, their roofs hit the ground and can deform and crush inward into the passenger compartment or “survival space”. The stronger the roof, the more survival space, and the safer passengers are in rollover accidents. Stronger roofs can prevent occupants from being ejected from vehicles when, and if the roof does deform in anyway during an accident.
The original Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 216 required that a vehicle’s roof be able to withstand a force of 1.5 times the weight of the car. The rule was extended in the early 1990s to include all passenger vehicles up to a gross weight rating of 6,000 pounds. While this has since changed further by Standard 216a, many SUVs and pickups on the road today have not been recalled and are still under the old Federal Safety Standard and are exempt. This is a serious safety hazard in the United States.
Crashworthiness and Rollovers
Per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety-Highway Loss Data Institute, a crashworthy design reduces death and injury risk. Structure and restraints (safety belts and airbags) are the main aspects of a vehicle’s design that determine its crashworthiness. Good structure means a strong occupant compartment or safety cage, crumple zones to absorb the force of a serious crash, side structure that can manage the force of a striking vehicle or struck object and a strong roof that won’t collapse in a rollover. Crash tests are used to evaluate a vehicle’s structural design and restraints. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests, a roof strength test for rollover protection, plus evaluations of seats/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. The federal government’s New Car Assessment Program also evaluates new vehicles for protection in front, side and rollover crashes.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety-Highway Loss Data Institute states vehicles roll over in 1 percent of all crashes, but these crashes account for about a third of passenger vehicle occupant deaths. Electronic stability control makes a vehicle less likely to roll over. ESC helps prevent the sideways skidding and loss of control that can lead to rollovers. It reduces the risk of fatal single-vehicle rollovers by more than 70 percent. As of the 2012 model year, all passenger vehicles must have the technology. Strong roofs protect occupants in a rollover crash. Stronger roofs reduce the risk of a fatal or incapacitating injury when a vehicle rolls over, in part because stronger roofs reduce the chance of being ejected from a rolling vehicle.