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When is a car manufacturer responsible for accidents?

By now most people in this country have heard about the vehicle recalls that included air bags and ignition switches. With more and more vehicles being added into these recalls frequently and other recalls coming to light, some people might wonder when car manufacturers are responsible for injuries after accidents.

What responsibilities do car manufacturers have to consumers?

Car manufacturers have to produce vehicles that don't pose an undue safety risk to consumers. This means that all of the components of the vehicle should work as intended when the vehicle is being used as intended. When car manufacturers put vehicles out that aren't up to par when it comes to safety, they can face claims from consumers that are based on strict liability.

What is strict liability?

Strict liability means that you don't have to prove that the manufacturer was careless when they put the car out. Instead, you have to show that the component was unreasonably dangerous and that the car's defect is what caused the accident and your injuries. In this type of case, the way you were using the vehicle matters. For example, if you were trying to pull a semi truck trailer loaded with bricks using a passenger vehicle, you weren't using the vehicle as intended. That can have an impact on your claim for compensation.

Understanding how to handle a product liability claim that stems from a defective car or vehicle component can be difficult. These cases often have complex elements that must be explained and presented in court. Calling on experts and using other methods might be necessary, so make sure you are prepared for what's to come.

Source: FindLaw, "Car Defect Injury Claims," accessed Aug. 18, 2016

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