Car Accidents Caused by Manufacturing Defects
In most Boston car accidents, it is ultimately determined that the accident was the result of the negligence (fault) of one or more drivers. In these types of car accidents, there will typically be one or more plaintiffs that were injured by one or more defendants who were driving vehicles that were involved in the crash. These cases are regularly handled by the experienced Boston car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC.
However, some accidents are not the not the result of driver negligence, but instead due to a defective vehicle or vehicle component. In some of these cases, it is not actually a defective design, but rather a defectively-serviced or repaired vehicle. These are often referred to as inadequate maintenance accidents and are unfortunately frequent occurrences for a variety of reasons.
An example of this would be if you took your car to a local garage to get an oil change and also paid to have your tires rotated. This is the very routine type of vehicle service and should not cause any issues. However, as any car mechanic would know, you must make sure that when you put all the bolts back on the wheel, you alternate the bolts in a star-shaped pattern. This is to ensure torque on all bolts. If a worker is in a rush or not paying attention, or the worker is not properly trained, this could result in a wheel that falls off the vehicle at highway speeds. This could easily result in a serious accident involving one or more vehicles.Accidents Caused by Defective Parts
In addition to maintenance-related accidents, we have seen various car accidents over the years that were the result of defective vehicles or defective vehicle components. In some cases, the defective vehicle part has already been addressed in a service bulletin or a recall as coordinated with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and in the other cases, the company has not publicly disclosed the known defect.
While most recalls involve components that do not affect the safety of the driver or passengers, there have been many cases where people died due to a defective vehicle. In some cases, many people were killed. To make matters worse, it has been proven where auto manufacturers were clearly aware of a serious defect and did not issue any service bulletins or voluntary recalls. The reason they failed to do this was because they made a calculated decision to hide the defect. This not only led to additional cases of serious personal injury and deaths, it led the companies being hit with heavy punitive damage awards that will be discussed below.
The following are some of the biggest and more well-known recalls in over the past several decades:
- 2009-2010 Toyota gas pedal defect that resulted in runaway vehicles
- 1976-1980 Ford recall of all models after 1,700 injuries and 98 deaths
- Takata Seatbelt Recall whereby over 8 million vehicles were recalled
While we’re are generally talking about car accidents in this article, when driver or passenger is injured as a result of a defective vehicle or vehicle component, we are actually dealing with what is known as a products liability lawsuit. Our Boston products liability lawyers have a long history of working with these types of claims and have the experience necessary to help fight for the full and appropriate financial recovery to which you are lawfully entitled.Types of Products Liability Claims
One of the most common claims in a products liability action is known as a failure to warn claim. This means that the defendant failed to properly warn the plaintiff of a known danger. In other words, the manufacturer was aware of a known danger that could cause an injury during the normal use of their product and did not warn consumers.
In some cases, if the manufacturer is aware of a danger, they have a duty to issue a recall and take that product out of service as quickly as possible to prevent injuries. Failing to do so can result in punitive damages.
In our legal system, the standard measure of damages is known as compensatory damages. As the name implies, the goal is to put a plaintiff in the same position as he would have been had the accident not occurred. This can include payment for pain and suffering, medical bills, future medical expenses, and other types of special damages. The goal is not to punish the defendant or give the plaintiff a windfall. However, if it can be shown that a defendant took steps to hide a defect and that resulted in an injury, this may result in punitive damages, which are designed to punish the defendant and send a message that this type of conduct will not be tolerated in the Commonwealth.
Additionally, in Massachusetts we have a very strong consumer protection statute. Some of the defective products claims will fall under this statute, known as a Section 93A claim, because of where it is found in the Massachusetts General Laws. This can result in double or even triple damages for the plaintiffs. However, it should be noted that this does not apply in every case, and you should speak with your Boston defective vehicles attorney about the facts of your actual situation.
Another typical claim in these actions is a defective or negligent manufacture claim. This claim will often require your attorney to work with technical experts who specialize in the science necessary to establish that a vehicle component was negligently manufactured. This can be a very complicated area of law, and there is likely to be a great deal of litigation involved. The best thing you can do is to make sure your attorney has experience working with these types of claims.
There will also likely be a negligence claim associated with your Boston defective vehicles lawsuit.
This is the standard type of negligence claim that includes the following four elements:
This is essentially a catchall claim that will be included among the various other claims against the defendant that caused your injury due to a defectively designed vehicle.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.
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