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Car and Truck Defects: What You Need To Know About Auto Product Liability

When we get into our vehicles, especially if they’re new or recently serviced ones, we expect them to get us to our destination safely. This, unfortunately, doesn’t always happen. Car and truck defects unfortunately occur, which can lead to motorists and others getting seriously hurt. Below, we explain what you need to know about auto product liability and explain how that plays a role if you suffered harm.

What Are Common Vehicle Defects That Occur?

A Heliyon academic journal article published by the National Library of Medicine this year outlined how the following vehicle components are most often responsible for causing crashes:

  • Braking systems: Included in this category are primarily a lack of responsiveness of brakes due to inadequate maintenance
  • Running gear concerns: Headlight and taillight issue concerns that perhaps affect visibility are included in this category
  • Tire defects: This includes worn-out tires and structural issues, such as improper tread depth that lead to separations and blowouts

When it comes to vehicles most likely to be affected by the defective components described above, passenger cars, and more specifically sedans, are far more likely than other vehicles. 

The study cited above not only explains how the older a vehicle is the less apt it is to be regularly serviced, but that passenger cars are subject to fewer mandatory inspections compared to vehicles like tractor-trailers, meaning such issues aren’t as frequently identified.

Aside from the vehicle defects described above, some of the following have historically led to recalls because of the injuries or deaths they’ve caused:

  • Airbags
  • Faulty steering systems
  • Fuel leaks
  • Ignition switch issues
  • Wiring issues leading to electrical shorts that could cause fires

As for the latter two items, at least 50 million General Motors vehicles were previously recalled for having faulty ignition switches that had the potential of short-circuiting, igniting a fire within the car’s steering column, according to Consumer Reports. In terms of wiring issues, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a recall of 3.3 million Hyundai and Kia cars after an electrical short caused by a brake fluid leak was identified in 2023.

When it comes to trucks, they experience many of the same defects as passenger cars, although one often spoke-about concern regarding tractor-trailers is their underride guards. They generally come with these equipped on the rear end and sometimes the sides of the trucks. While past news stories, like this Frontline story published by PBS, have cited how these are effective at preventing often-deadly crashes, others say that many of the ones available on the market aren’t capable of withstanding impact and keeping passenger car operators safe.

Adverse Outcomes That Can Result From Defective Car Parts

The potential for injuries stemming from the use of defective original or aftermarket auto parts is significant. Since these defects often result in crashes, many of the injuries victims sustain are consistent with injuries a person involved in an auto accident would suffer like:

  • Blunt-force trauma injuries to the head, which can cause traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Head and neck injuries, including spinal cord damage leading to paralysis
  • Broken bones (bone fractures)
  • Crush injuries, which may necessitate amputations
  • Burns

Who You Can Hold Responsible for Injuries Caused by Car and Truck Defects

When it comes to injuries caused by defective auto parts, you may be able to hold the product manufacturer liable for injuries caused by the defective product that harmed you. Any pedestrian, cyclist, or motorist that you struck or passenger within your vehicle that was injured would also potentially be eligible to take legal action against the product manufacturer as well if they suffered injuries in a crash due to a defective product.

The onus falls on a plaintiff’s shoulders to prove liability, though. As part of this, you must show how the product was defectively manufactured or how it failed to perform as expected. Provided you’re able to do this, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries you sustained.

How We Can Help You With Your Legal Claim

At Tobias Comer Law, LLC, we have long been helping Mobile residents like yourself who have suffered preventable injuries at the hands of negligent drivers, truckers, property owners, manufacturers, and others. If you were hurt while using a defective product or because someone else did, we want to speak with you about what happened so our personal injury lawyers can advise you of the rights Alabama law affords you.

Meeting with our attorneys to discuss how you suffered your injuries or what led to a loved one prematurely dying is completely free. So, reach out to us using our contact form or by phone today for a consultation. 

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