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Nicoletti Walker Law Group July 21, 2014

Earlier this year, a car accident resulted in one death and over a dozen injured people when an SUV clipped the rear of a convertible that careened into a daycare center. The driver of the SUV claimed that the crash was caused by an engine malfunction that caused him to lose control of the vehicle. That claim is disputed by a certified mechanic who was hired by the Florida Highway Patrol to examine the car. The mechanic said, “The vehicle is found to be fully capable of steering, stopping, accelerating, decelerating and no reason is found that driver’s controllability would be impaired. Further investigation is recommended into the operator of the vehicle.” Whether or not the accident was partially caused by a defective engine is an important factor in determining if the driver will be found criminally liable for the accident and if the victims of the accident will be able to recover damages from the car manufacturer.

When Can You Recover Damages from The Manufacturer of Your Car?

In typical negligence lawsuits, it is necessary to establish that the defendant failed to meet a standard of care that he was required to under law. But this changes when a defective product that was purchased causes an injury. When a defective product causes an injury, damages can be sought from some responsible parties even if they exercised due care in their handling of the product. This is called “strict liability”. When a product is defective, any person or company who assembled component parts into a finished product is strictly liable for defects in the components used. Additionally, retailers are subject to strict liability for defects in new goods that they sell or lease. That means that if you buy or lease a new car from a car dealership, that dealership could be held strictly liable for any injuries caused by defects in the car.

In What Other Situations Can You Recover Damages from A Manufacturer?

A car, or any product that you purchase, can also be considered defective if is accompanied by an “inadequate warning”. An inadequate warning means that its message to the user of the product fails to sufficiently describe the danger involved in using the product. Although it is difficult to recover from a manufacturer of a car because of an inadequate warning, as cars are generally considered to be obviously dangerous to any user in some way, a warning is generally required when four circumstances are present: (1) the product presents a danger; (2) the manufacturer knows about the danger; (3) the danger is present when the product is reasonably used in its intended purposes; and (4) the danger is not obvious to a reasonably user.

If you have suffered injuries in a car accident that you believe might be caused by a defect in the car or the fault of another driver, contact the experienced Clearwater personal injury attorneys at Mike Walker Law.