Upland Defective Products Attorney
When Auto Parts Cause Harm, Our Firm Can Help
Some firms only handle “straightforward” auto accident cases, including fender-benders, collisions caused by drunk or high motorists, etc. While there is nothing wrong with basing a firm’s business model on taking straightforward cases that allow that business to reach a higher volume of cases, that model risks missing important details in cases that are seemingly straightforward but are far more complex beneath the surface. Just as we encourage our potential clients to avoid making assumptions about issues of causation and fault regarding their motor vehicle collisions, we similarly avoid making such assumptions. Far too often, assuming that a crash was caused by obvious factors risks leaving the truth uncovered. It has been our experience that one of the most commonly overlooked contributing factors to auto accidents is the influence of defective auto parts. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 738 people died in U.S. auto accidents caused by tire issues in 2017 alone. Our firm doesn’t take auto part integrity for granted. If it is possible that an auto part defect contributed to your crash and you may be able to hold a legal entity in the line of distribution of that part accountable for the harm you have caused, we’ll do our best to ensure that justice is served and that you receive as much compensation as you’re entitled to under the circumstances.
What Does “Product Liability” Mean?
The term “product liability” is used to describe the process of holding a manufacturer, wholesaler, designer, or seller of a defective part accountable for placing that defective product into the chain of distribution. Most of the time, the product liability process progresses just as a “standard” personal injury claim involving a car accident would. In these cases, it must generally be proven that the allegedly responsible party acted in negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous ways that resulted in direct harm to the consumer. However, there are notable exceptions to this general personal injury model in some product liability cases.
California Product Liability Law
Under California law, there are two primary kinds of product liability cases that aren’t primarily concerned with warranty matters. These primary case types are negligence-based actions and strict liability actions. Some defective auto part cases that aren’t warranty-based will need to be filed as negligence actions. These cases proceed in much the same way that most other personal injury actions do, in that the injury victim needs to prove that the manufacturer (or another party in the chain of distribution) was negligent in releasing a defective product into the chain of distribution and the injury victim suffered direct harm as a result of the defect. By contrast, in strict liability cases, the defendant does not have to have done anything “wrong” to be held accountable for causing an injury victim harm. Instead, it “simply” needs to be proven that the product in question was far more dangerous than it should have been or that it wasn’t properly labeled with adequate warnings. Under these circumstances, injury victims can be awarded damages provided that they were using the unreasonably dangerous or inadequately labeled product in a reasonably foreseeable way.
How Do I Know Whether I Have Grounds for a Case?
You generally won’t know for sure whether you have strong grounds to file a personal injury claim against another motorist, an auto parts manufacturer, or another third-party until you’ve spoken with our firm. You may suspect that you’re at-fault for your collision or you may be confident that the accident wasn’t your fault. Either way, as noted before, matters of causation and fault are rarely as they first appear in auto accident cases. As a result, it’s a good idea to schedule a cost-free, risk-free case evaluation with our firm so that we can clarify your legal options. Even if you believe that you’re partially or totally at fault for your crash, it’s possible that a defective auto part played a key role in why your collision occurred. If this is the case – or if others may be held responsible for your injuries – you may be entitled to a significant amount of compensation. You won’t know for sure until you allow a knowledgeable and trustworthy legal professional to evaluate your case. Our firm provides access to this service for free and with no strings attached because we believe that all accident victims are entitled to understand their rights under the law.
Should I Accept a Settlement if One Is Offered?
If an auto parts manufacturer or other interested party has already been alerted to the harm you’ve suffered, you may have been approached with a settlement offer. It is important to avoid accepting a settlement offer (verbally or in writing) until you’ve allowed our experienced legal team to review that offer on your behalf.
Imagine, for a moment, that you run a company that sells auto parts and you’ve learned that your product has caused consumer harm as a result of a defect. Due to modern manufacturing techniques, it would be extraordinary if only a single auto part manufactured was defective. Chances are therefore high that “your” company has produced any number of defective products. To avoid a public relations nightmare and to avoid the costs associated with prolonged litigation, you extend a settlement offer to the consumer who has been harmed by your wares to avoid these immediate consequences while you take time to initiate a recall or otherwise manage the broader risk of consequences from all consumers who may have been harmed by your product. This scenario is not uncommon. What is uncertain, however, is whether, in such a scenario, the leadership of the offending manufacturing operation is going to offer the injury victim a fairly valued settlement to increase the chances that the offer will be accepted OR whether those in charge will “roll the dice” and offer the injury victim a devalued settlement in the hopes that they both “won’t know any better” and will be so eager to avoid a legal fight that they will take the inadequate offer over the stress of litigation. These questions will remain unclear in your case as well until you’ve had your settlement offer thoroughly reviewed by a legal professional with extensive knowledge of California product liability law. Our firm has the benefit of this extensive knowledge and we would be happy to provide you with an initial review of your settlement offer during your no-cost, no-pressure free consultation session.
How Reporting Your Experience Can Make a Difference
In addition to negotiating with insurance representatives on your behalf and filing any legal action relevant to your situation, we will assist you in reporting the harm you have suffered to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. As part of its overall mission, this federal agency collects data related to how dangerous and defective products have harmed consumers. This reporting often influences recalls and inspires the filing of class action suits. But reporting your experience to authorities, you may be able to help prevent others from experiencing harm as a result of using the same product that caused your injuries.
Special Considerations if You Were Injured While on the Job
If you were injured in an auto crash that occurred while you were engaging in work-related duties for your job, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation benefits and you may be able to simultaneously file a third-party personal injury claim against a legal entity in the line of distribution for the auto part that contributed to the harm you’ve suffered. If you’ve done any research about workers’ compensation benefits in the past, you may be aware that it is ordinarily not possible to file a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim simultaneously. This is true if the only third-party you would be able to hold accountable for the harm you have suffered is your employer. However, eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits does not prevent you from holding third-parties accountable for their contributions to the harm you’ve suffered. As a work-related auto accident crash victim, our firm may be able to assist you with filing a workers’ comp claim in addition to holding auto parts manufacturers, other motorists involved in your crash, etc. accountable through the personal injury process. As a result, you’ll want to notify us that your auto accident occurred while you were on the job when you arrive for your free case evaluation.
Scheduling a no-cost, risk-free consultation with our firm’s legal team neither obligates you to take legal action nor does it obligate you to work with our firm moving forward. All this process is meant to do is ensure that you’re empowered to make informed decisions about any legal options available to you as an accident victim. Once we ask you questions about your situation so that we can get a strong sense of whether you have grounds to file legal action at this time, you’ll be given the opportunity to ask any questions and raise any concerns that may be on your mind. Should you ultimately determine that you wish to file legal action, our firm will do its utmost to ensure that your case is as strong and as successful as it can be. Don’t wait to explore your legal options. Call today so that, in the event that you choose to move forward with a personal injury claim, we can begin preserving evidence related to your case and protecting your rights as an accident victim. We look forward to speaking with you.