Every year millions of lives are saved all around the world by the successful deployment of airbags, but when those devices fail, serious injuries occur. In April 2014, Takata, one of the largest manufacturers of airbags in Japan, announced a production issue with a run of its products. By June 2015, Toyota and other auto manufacturers issued recalls on vehicles that used the airbags. Recalls continued through the end of 2015 and well into 2016. The situation grew worse for Takata after an auto accident attorney filed a lawsuit claiming a defective airbag caused the death of a Georgia man.
Product liability suits allow an auto accident attorney to pursue damages from auto and aftermarket equipment manufacturers who cause serious injury or death. The scope of the law enables an auto accident attorney to sue anyone in the vehicle supply chain, but the attorney must prove the defect caused an injury in one of three ways:
Manufacturing defects are any flaw in the construction of the product that led to an injury or death. The Takata airbags qualify as manufacturing defects. Because of their poor construction, metal pieces within the airbags became shrapnel in vehicle collisions, causing extensive damage and injuries. Manufacturing defects are often the easiest cases to pursue, because there is often a clear and visible defect that a jury can see.
Poor product design may lead to product failure when the product is used as intended. Examples of design defects include automobiles with poor weight distribution that topple over on sharp turns or electric heaters that catch on fire at the maximum temperature. Proving a design flaw can be a more difficult task than other liability suits, largely because of the difficulty of proving the manufacturer knew or should have known of a design issue.
Manufacturers who do not provide sufficient labels regarding safe usage or warnings against improper usage can be subject to a product defect lawsuit. Medicines without a list of side effects or proper dosage instructions and chemicals that are sold without detailed instructions for care and disposal can be held responsible for injuries.
When an auto accident involves a vehicle with a product defect, injuries become amplified. An auto accident attorney may be able to use product defect regulations to fight for compensation for an injured client from both the driver and the manufacturer of the vehicles involved in the accident.