While drunk driving and driver error are widely acknowledged to be the most common causes of vehicle collisions, they are by no means the only issues responsible for causing accidents on Arizona roadways. Among the many other possible causes of auto accidents are manufacturing defect.
What Is a Manufacturing Defect?
A manufacturer defect is a problem with a product that makes that product more dangerous than the average consumer would reasonably expect it to be. Arizona law recognizes three types of product defects:
- Design defects: where the product’s design causes it to be unreasonably dangerous.
- Manufacturing defect: where a problem or mistake in the manufacturing process causes a properly-designed product to become unsafe.
- Failure to warn: where the manufacturer fails to provide adequate notice of safety risks associated with proper use of the product.
If any one of these types of manufacturing defects results in a problem that causes an auto accident, the manufacturer can be held financially responsible for the victims’ injuries and other losses.
Recent Examples of Auto Manufacturing Defect
When an auto manufacturer discovers that it has sold cars with defective parts, it is supposed to issue a recall. That way, customers can have their cars fixed before an accident occurs. Unfortunately, this is not always what actually happens.
In 2014, Toyota agreed to pay a $1.2 billion fine–at the time, the largest in history–relating to its handling of an issue involving gas pedals getting stuck under drivers’ floor mats. The issue first surfaced in 2009, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) later accused Toyota of providing customers with inaccurate and misleading information relating to the problem. The auto giant ultimately recalled more than 10 million vehicles and faced numerous lawsuits–including a $1.1 billion class action–after numerous accidents associated with the problem came to light.
Also in 2014, GM issued a major recall after acknowledging that it had failed for more than a decade to properly address issues relating to defective ignition switches in its vehicles. GM also agreed to pay a record fine and is now facing thousands of lawsuits–including hundreds for wrongful death–arising out of accidents allegedly caused by the ignition switch defects.
While these are two egregious examples of major manufacturers not timely addressing dangerous defects, automakers regularly issue recalls for problems such as:
- Defective seatbelts
- Defective tires
- Defective airbags
- Defective brakes
- Defective engines and transmissions
- Defective fuel and accelerator systems
You can view a full list of active recalls at NHTSA.
What to Do After an Accident Caused by a Product Defect
If you are an accident victim and believe that defect is a cause, you should contact the attorney right away. Involving the motor companies and multiple insurance companies will complicate the defect cases. You will need someone on your side who can help level the playing field. You can read more about what to do here.
The Thompson Law Firm has helped numerous clients obtain financial compensation for auto accident injuries. Phoenix attorney Christy Thompson will thoroughly evaluate your case and determine all of the parties that may be responsible for covering your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. To discuss your accident and what damages you may recover, schedule a free consultation today.