Automobiles and Defective Parts
Most auto accidents are caused by human error, whether that error manifests as crossing a lane or causing another automobile to crash. However, sometimes, other forces may be responsible. One which is sometimes overlooked is that automobiles are products, like any other, including their constituent parts. It is possible to show, in some cases, that your auto accident could have been caused by a defective part. This can open up an entirely different cause of action than a standard negligence case.
Texas Product Liability
Texas has fairly specific standards regarding product liability, specifying the obligations of manufacturers and sellers toward the general public. It also holds that product defect cases fall under strict liability, which means that unlike with a standard negligence case, no causation is required to show liability. If a product is designed with an inherent defect, and that defect causes harm, then the manufacturer is liable. It would be too difficult to show causation if it were required to be proven in every single case, so Texas law eliminates that step.
Like many other states, Texas law recognizes three major schools of product liability claims. The first is design defect - claims that allege that the product (or component) is inherently unsafe as designed. In such cases, the burden is on the plaintiff to allege that a safer design was possible to manufacture and sell. The other two are manufacturing defect, alleging that the product was manufactured in a dangerous manner, and failure to warn, which holds that the public was not properly warned about inherent dangers in the product.
Of the three commonly seen types of product liability in Texas, the most commonly used are design defect and defects in manufacturing. Depending on the type of action you might choose to pursue, it is also worth taking time to assess who might be the most appropriate defendant, especially since different actors have different obligations they must fulfill. For example, if you allege that an automobile is defective as designed because it is statistically prone to cause rollover accidents, you might bring suit against the manufacturer of the car. If you experienced harm because a defective component was installed, or because a specific component failed for an unknown reason, it might make more sense to sue the manufacturer of that component, or even a dealership or mechanic.
Be advised that it is possible to bring suit on both product liability and negligence grounds if you believe you can show that both criteria can be met. In a negligence suit, unlike a suit for product liability, you must be able to show the existence of a duty of care between you and the defendant, as well as a breach of that duty. You must then be able to show that the breach of duty caused you significant harm - not necessarily life-changing, but more than mere cuts or bruises. If you can fulfill these criteria, as well as show that you were less than 51 percent at fault for the accident, you stand a decent chance of obtaining compensation.
Contact Our Auto Accident Lawyers Today
When you are in an auto accident, the impulse to simply move on can be powerful - but it is easier to move on when one is able to pay their medical bills. If you believe your automobile (or some part of it) was defective, and this contributed to your injuries, contacting an attorney should be your first step. The skilled New Braunfels car accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm are happy to try and help you with your case. Call us today to set up an appointment.