Many of us are able to operate our cars safely and arrive at our destinations without concern or fear that it will cause us harm or injury. This is not always the case, however, and when accidents happen due to failing car parts or inherently unsafe designs, the results can be disastrous. If you have been injured due to defective car parts, you might have a product liability claim and have a right to pursue compensation.
What You Need to Know About Defective Car Part Claims
In cases involving defective car parts, there are two categories – after-market parts and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. OEM parts are not typically used to replace parts that might have been damaged in a car accident since they are usually more expensive than after-market parts. OEM parts should always be demanded at a repair shop if your car needs replacements since they are often as reliable as the originals.
After-market car parts, unlike OEM parts, are free of government oversight. They are generally inexpensive given the inferior quality, which tends to differ greatly from what you might receive from major car manufacturers.
This does not mean OEM parts are infallible. If there is an error at the manufacturing facility where a vehicle or part was made, or an issue happens during the shipment process, you can hold the manufacturer liable for any injuries that resulted from the defective car part.
Who is Liable?
It is possible for more than one defendant to be involved in your products liability lawsuit, depending on the circumstances of your case. Sometimes, the entire chain of distribution, from manufacturer to dealer, can be held liable, which is why it is important to consult an attorney experienced in this area.
Any number of the following parties might be liable if you are injured due to a motor vehicle’s defective parts:
- Manufacturer: The manufacturer is usually a large company, which means they will be able to mount an intimidating defense. It also means that, if your attorney succeeds, you will likely be able to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries.
- Parts Manufacturer: You might also be able to sue the manufacturer of the defective part in addition to the manufacturer of the vehicle itself. If you bought a replacement set of tires, however, the vehicle manufacturer would not be part of this claim and you would only sue the manufacturer of the replacement tires. If the tires that came with your new car were defective, you could sue both the tire manufacturer and the vehicle manufacturer.
- Car Dealership or Auto Supply Shop: Even in cases where you were not the buyer, whoever sold the vehicle or defective part might be liable for your injuries. For example, if you borrowed someone’s defective car and sustained injuries due to its defects, or were injured by another driver who was operating a defective vehicle, you can still have a valid claim.
- Middleman: The shipper or middleman who partakes in the chain of distribution between the part manufacturer and the dealership might be held liable as well.
- Used Car Dealership: It is also possible that, even if the vehicle was used, the used car dealer that sold it to you might be liable, though it depends on the specific circumstances of the case.
To prove liability in this type of claim, you will have to show that:
- You sustained injuries or some other type of loss
- The vehicle in question was defectively manufactured or dangerously designed
- The defect or design directly caused your injuries
Of these three elements, the most crucial one is often the causation between the injury and the defect. Motor vehicle manufacturers often try to defend themselves by arguing that the accident was caused by reckless driving rather than by the defect.
Austin Injury Attorneys Representing Victims of Auto Defects
Dangerous and defective car parts can result in serious or fatal accidents. If you or a loved one was injured in a car wreck caused by defective auto parts, you should not suffer in silence. You can hold the negligent companies accountable for their harmful actions and pursue just compensation to help you recover and move forward with your life. At The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC, our Texas legal team is steadfast in the pursuit of justice for those who have been injured in car accidents caused by defective auto parts. We are prepared to take on your case and protect your rights.