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Holding manufacturers liable for design and manufacturing defects and failure to warn

When an accident occurs, it can be difficult to determine who was at fault and why. In certain cases, a crash may appear to be caused by a negligent driver when in fact an auto defect such as brake failure caused by a defective part was the true culprit. Defects not only cause many accidents, but they can also make injuries worse. For example, defective airbags or poor structural design can turn a minor crash into a serious injury accident.

At McCarthy & Kroes, a Santa Barbara area car accident lawyer provides the experience and skills to help you hold manufacturers liable for your harm and obtain the compensation you are entitled to receive. Manufacturers have significant resources to defend against claims of defective products. Our attorneys help level the playing field by providing aggressive but professional representation at each step of your case:

  • Gathering and preserving evidence and witness testimony
  • Securing experts and reconstructing accidents
  • Developing compelling legal arguments
  • Providing strong litigation skills in court

Design and manufacturing defects

Vehicle manufacturers have a duty to ensure that their vehicles are safe for intended or reasonably foreseeable use by consumers. Vehicles must be free from design defects, such as poor structural integrity or propensity to roll over in an accident. This is generally referred to as crashworthiness, which is determined by the vehicle’s performance in high-speed front and side crash tests, rollover tests and rear impact tests. Manufacturers must also protect against manufacturing defects, such as the use of poor materials, negligent assembly, worker error, negligent inspection and other problems that may occur during manufacture and assembly of the vehicle. These duties apply to all manufacturers, including manufacturers of auto parts and accessories. For example, a manufacturer may be held liable if injury or death results from a helmet defect during a motorcycle accident.

At McCarthy & Kroes, an experienced and resourceful vehicle defect attorney helps car accident victims recover compensation from liable manufacturers when an accident is caused by any type of design or manufacturing defect:

  • Brake defect
  • Tire blowout, de-tread and tread separation or other tire defect
  • Seatbelt failure
  • Airbag defect
  • Gas tank defect
  • Steering failure
  • Seatback failure
  • Defective door latch
  • Roof crush from design defect
  • Rollover
  • Car seat and child restraint defect

In addition to ensuring a safe vehicle design and proper manufacturing, manufacturers also have a duty to include proper instructions and warn of dangers associated with the vehicle, such as the use of improper tires, dangerous modifications or other potential, reasonably foreseeable problems.

Modification and poor maintenance defects

When vehicle misuse, such as unreasonable modification, results in an accident, it may be used by a manufacturer as a defense against liability. Because automobiles, trucks and motorcycles often go through many hands, such as an auto dealership, secondhand dealer or other drivers, it is possible that these parties may modify the vehicle. When aftermarket modifications make a vehicle unsafe for you or others on the road, the responsible parties may be held liable for the harm caused.

Dealerships and mechanics may also be liable when poor vehicle maintenance causes an accident. For example, if an auto shop or mechanic uses a known defective product, fails to perform needed maintenance or allows poor workmanship, it may be held liable for any resulting accidents caused by these maintenance defects.

To protect yourself, it is important to routinely maintain your vehicle and be aware of manufacturer recalls. Keeping on top of recalls can prevent an accident that may be caused by defects in new or older vehicles.

Contact our firm for prompt, reliable assistance on California’s Central Coast

At McCarthy & Kroes, we are a firm that victims and insurers have relied on for excellent service in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties since 1988. To learn more about how we can assist in your case, contact us online or call 805.564.2085 today for a free initial consultation.