You may be familiar with personal injury laws that hold the at-fault driver accountable in the event of a car accident, but what happens if the car manufacturer was responsible for the crash? If any manufacturing errors played a role in the accident, you will need to file a product liability claim in order to collect damages. Our firm can match you with an accident lawyer in Houston, TX who has experience with personal injury law and product liability cases.
What Kind of Settlement Can You Get for a Car Manufacturer Error?
We understand that, from your perspective, injuries warrant compensation regardless of whether they were caused by a negligent driver or a factory oversight. The good news is that you have the right to seek a settlement from the liable party in either case.
In some cases, an injured person can collect damages from multiple parties, including the other driver and the car manufacturer. The kind of settlement you can pursue with the car manufacturer is known as a product liability settlement.
When Can You Seek a Product Liability Settlement?
Product liability is an area of the law that can apply to dangerous products of any kind, including toys, food, electronic devices, and cars. If you were harmed by a product, you can seek compensation from the manufacturer if:
There Was a Design Flaw
Design flaws occur in the planning phase before the product actually goes into production. A car may have been manufactured perfectly according to the specifications yet still cause injury due to being poorly designed. For example, in 2014, General Motors issued a recall on over 2 million vehicles that had been manufactured with faulty ignition switches.
There Was a Factory Error
Alternatively, a vehicle that was perfectly designed could become a source of danger on the road if it was incorrectly made. In 1972, Volkswagen recalled several vehicles that had been issued with loose windshield wipers. Today’s cars involve many mechanical and electronic components, any one of which could become subject to a problem during the production phase.
There Were Insufficient Safety Warnings
Sometimes, manufacturers are allowed to sell products that have the potential to cause harm as long as they issue reasonable warnings to consumers. For example, hairdryers often come with a tag illustrating the danger of using the product in the bathtub. A product that causes an injury after being sold without sufficient warnings could incur a product liability lawsuit.
How Will You Know If the Accident Was Caused by a Manufacturer’s Error?
Because cars are heavy vehicles that travel at high speeds, they have the potential to cause serious injuries when their parts malfunction. Determining whether or not you have grounds to sue the car manufacturer requires an investigation into the accident. Our firm specializes in recognizing the tell-tale signs of factory errors and design flaws, and we will ensure that a knowledgeable team looks into the causes of your crash.
Conducting the investigation can involve reviewing surveillance footage, interviewing witnesses, and examining physical evidence on the vehicle. We commonly work with auto industry specialists and forensic accident reconstruction experts to get an accurate understanding of the factors that led to the collision.
What Damages Should Be Included in Your Settlement According to Personal Injury Law?
A car crash has the potential to affect your life in a variety of ways. You have the right to demand compensation for any of the following losses that apply in your case:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain, suffering, and trauma
The value of your losses will depend on the extent of your injury and your ability to recover. If you suffered a permanent disability that will have a lasting impact on your health and/or your earning capacity, you have the right to demand compensation for future losses.
Your claimable medical expenses include all the costs associated with diagnosing and treating your injuries. A typical car accident might necessitate a ride in an ambulance, an overnight stay at the ER, and follow-up appointments. If your condition requires any prescription medication or at-home medical equipment, you can list those expenses on your claim as well.
The value of your lost wages is calculated by tallying the income you missed while you were away from work recovering. Your unearned wages, tips, bonuses, and benefits can all factor into your claim, including aspects of your compensation package that are not monetary, such as vacation days. In complex cases, an accident lawyer might work with an accountant or an economist to determine the value of the claimant’s lost wages.
Pain, Suffering, and Trauma
Pain, suffering, and trauma are considered noneconomic expenses. Unlike medical expenses and lost wages, the value of noneconomic expenses must be determined subjectively, according to the severity of the injuries.
When determining the appropriate amount of compensation needed to cover noneconomic losses, courts review the extent to which the accident affected the plaintiff’s quality of life. They then give the noneconomic losses a number between one and five and multiply the dollar value of the economic losses by that number to obtain the total compensation required to cover the accident. Some key questions that might be asked regarding the noneconomic losses are:
- How much pain did the injuries cause?
- Were the injuries catastrophic? Did they lead to a long-term disability?
- Did the injuries significantly disrupt the plaintiff’s life?
- Was the plaintiff unable to carry out his or her family responsibilities while recovering?
- Did the injuries require the plaintiff to stop participating in any hobbies or recreational activities?
Why Should You Work With an Accident Lawyer in Houston, TX?
After any car accident, obtaining the input of an experienced attorney can significantly increase your chances of receiving compensation. Cases involving manufacturer errors tend to be more complex than a typical accident. You will want to obtain the services of a skilled attorney with experience winning cases against large companies and their legal teams.
Even before you enter into the settlement negotiations, your lawyer will help you identify the correct party or parties to hold accountable. In a product liability case involving a car accident, you may be able to sue the car manufacturer, a subcontractor who manufactured one or more of the parts, and/or any party involved in the chain of distribution. Additionally, the other driver may be found partially responsible for the accident.
Get a Free Case Assessment
When you are dealing with injuries, our lawyers are there to help. We would like to hear more about your case to best determine how we can assist you in securing a just outcome. To schedule a free consultation with Houston’s leading personal injury law firm, call us at (713) 909-7832.
Exercise Your Rights as a Driver and a Consumer
There is no reason why you should be subject to unnecessary dangers on the road. That’s why other drivers and the companies that manufacture cars must take reasonable measures to uphold safety standards. If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you have the right to seek compensation. To talk with an accident attorney in Houston, TX, contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner.