Recently, a man was speeding near the 13000 block of Applewhite Road in San Antonio when his tire blew out. The blowout caused him to lose control of his car, with the vehicle crossing the median and crashing into an oncoming big rig. The man was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, but later died of his injuries. While many accidents of this type result in personal injury or wrongful death cases, it is sometimes possible to mount a cause of action in product liability. In an accident like this, someone who was injured (or the family of a deceased accident victim) might conceivably try to file suit against the tire manufacturer, alleging product liability.
Product liability cases in Texas differ substantially from a standard personal injury action. Someone brings a personal injury lawsuit when they have been injured due to the negligence of another person and want to hold them accountable. In some states, this is the same procedure that one might use to file suit against a product’s manufacturer, but in Texas, a product liability case is based on strict liability. This means that negligence is irrelevant – if the product had a defect of some kind, and the product caused you harm, the manufacturer is liable for damages.
That said, keep in mind that when it comes to vehicles, there is rarely just one manufacturer that could be held liable in an accident case. In the Applewhite Road crash, one might think that the tire manufacturer would be the best defendant – however, it is plausible that the vehicle manufacturer could have played a role. The tire could, for example, have been mounted improperly or maintained improperly. In many accident cases, plaintiffs choose to file against multiple defendants, as one or more may be dismissed if the claim is unfounded.
There are three different arguments that an injured plaintiff can use to establish that the product in question was dangerous. They are:
- Design defect – arguing that the product was dangerous because of its inherent design, and stating that an alternative would have been safer;
- Manufacturing defect – trying to state that the product was assembled incorrectly, meaning it was dangerous once it came off the product line; and
- Marketing defect, also referred to as failure to warn – arguing that a reasonable customer using the product exactly as intended would still stand a chance of being in danger that might not be readily apparent to the average consumer.
If a plaintiff can establish that the product was dangerous in one of these three ways, and can also show that they were harmed by the product (with no other intervening cause), strict liability renders the manufacturer liable under Texas law. There are defenses that may be used by manufacturers, but the most common is to argue that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent, which you still may be able to successfully defend against. While each case is different, having a knowledgeable attorney on your side is always helpful.
Contact a New Braunfels Product Liability Attorney
The motorist on Applewhite Road, unfortunately, died from his injuries, but if you or a loved one experience a similar accident and survive, you may have a cause of action in product liability if you suspect that your vehicle (or one of its parts) played a major role in causing your injuries. The skilled New Braunfels product liability attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm can offer dedicated and compassionate representation in what can be a difficult time. Contact our offices today at 888-392-0039 to schedule a free consultation.