Product liability laws are meant to protect the public from dangerous and defective products, including design defects, manufacturing defects and marketing defects. The specific elements of a product liability claim involve complex, complicated legal issues and, in the case of motor vehicle product liability laws, it is often difficult to determine the actual cause of the defect. Accordingly, it is important to rely on an experienced Illinois motor vehicle product liability attorney in order to pursue your claim.
Product liability lawsuits can be filed against anyone along a vehicle’s supply chain, including the automobile designer, the automobile manufacturer, the marketing companies and car dealerships. Because automobiles are mass-produced, defects typically involve many people and the lawsuits are consolidated as a class action lawsuit.
Auto defects can cause serious damage, personal injury and even death. For instance, motor vehicle defects can result in the following:
- Automobile rollovers/stability defects
- Inability to stop
- Unintended acceleration
- Tire blowouts, which can result in a loss of control and failure to stop
- Roof collapse when a defect causes the roof to collapse during a rollover
- Seat back collapse, which frequently occur in a rear-end collision when the seat back may collapse to the rear and the front seat passenger may be ejected into the backseat
- Glass breakage, caused by failure to include shatter-resistant window glazing
- Airbag failure
- Seatbelt failure when latch failure or the seatbelt fails to adequate restrain the passenger
- Door latch failure when a defect causes the doors to open during a rollover or other accident
- Gasoline fire
Theories of Product Liability
A product liability claim, including an auto defect claim, can be based on any one of the following theories, all of which require that the plaintiff prove that the car’s defect caused the plaintiff’s injuries:
- Negligence – The alleged responsible party knew of or reasonably should have known of the product’s defect and failed to satisfy its duty to protect the consumer and/or the public.
- Strict Liability – In Illinois, auto manufacturers and dealerships may be responsible for injuries caused by defective automobiles if (1) the product was defective and unreasonably dangerous for its intended purpose; (2) the defect existed when the product left the vehicle manufacturer; and (3) the defective vehicle caused the plaintiff’s injury.
- Breach of Warranty – The auto manufacturer or dealership violated a written or implied warranty guaranteeing a product free from defects.
Types of Auto Product Liability Defects
Three types of defects may be claimed in a motor vehicle product liability case, including:
- Design Defects – Design mistakes rendered the product dangerous when used as intended or for another foreseeable purpose.
- Manufacturing Defects – Mistakes in the manufacturing process made the product dangerous.
- Marketing Defects – The product was not properly labeled with instructions or warnings to ensure safe usage.
If you believe you have an auto defect claim, contact the skilled Chicago product liability attorneys at Ankin Law Offices to discuss your product liability case.