Every year car manufacturers recall thousands of cars due to safety concerns. Typically a recall occurs only after an automotive defect has been recognized as a problem. Some recalls have nothing to do with safety. Other recalls can involve defects that put driver and passenger safety at significant risk, involving the potential for serious injury or death. Unfortunately many recalls come too late, and the public is notified only after tragedy has happened.
If you or a family member have suffered serious, life-altering injuries from a defect in a vehicle, our Minneapolis automobile defect attorneys are here to help.
Why Choose Us?
We make it a point to maintain open and honest communication with our clients to ensure they feel confident in our representation and the progress of their cases.
- We have successfully recovered millions in compensation on behalf of wrongfully injured victims.
- Our team is comprised of highly trained litigators with the knowledge and experience necessary to help you navigate your automobile defect case.
- We limit the number of clients we take each month to ensure we provide the highest level of service.
- We take automobile defect cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no legal fees if you do not win.
What Are Common Causes of Car Defects?
It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether a faulty auto part contributed to an accident. When a car accident results in serious injuries or death, it is important to hire a law firm that has the expertise necessary to determine whether a product defect may have contributed to the collision or to the injuries sustained. The Minneapolis personal injury attorneys at Hall Law are regularly asked to evaluate motor vehicle collision cases to determine whether a defect may have contributed to the crash or injury. In those cases involving an actual automotive defect, we have the resources to help hold the manufacturer responsible and put the injured party in a much better place.
The types of defects affecting automobiles are wide-ranging and can include:
Steering System Malfunctions
Steering system failure is a common issue often due to car manufacturing errors. When a malfunction occurs, it is dangerous because it is difficult for the driver to maintain control of their vehicle. They are commonly due to a manufacturing design flaw or mistake.
Faulty brake lines often cause brake malfunctions. When brake lines fail, they cause brake fluid to leak out, which is needed for them to operate correctly. As a result, the fluid does not make it to the brakes, and the vehicle will not stop when a driver is pushing the brakes. Other vehicle brake manufacturing defects may be found in the Antilock Brake System (ABS) or the dual brake system (parking brake). For example, an ABS malfunction may cause a vehicle’s wheels to lock up – preventing the driver from steering to safety.
Fuel System Fires
Many cars and trucks have been recalled because of fuel system or tank defects. When there is a defect, there is an increased risk of the vehicle catching fire in an accident, which can result in severe burn injuries and even fatalities.
An unintended acceleration defect is when a vehicle suddenly accelerates even though the driver has not done anything differently. Many of these incidents happen when the car is already in motion, often due to an electrical or mechanical defect.
If a seat belt fails in an accident, it can be catastrophic for the driver or passenger. Seat belts may unlatch, fail to lock, or protect vehicle occupants of certain sizes as they should—for example, children or smaller adults. Causes of seat belt defects can be poor quality material used for webbing, poor design, or a manufacturing or assembly error.
A defective tire can cause a blowout, which is when the tire bursts and loses all air pressure, or tread separation where the tread detaches from the body of the tire. When a tire has a defect, it is often due to defective or low-quality materials.
Faulty airbags can result in serious harm to vehicle occupants involved in a crash. Airbags can be defective in several ways, such as: tethers that are not working correctly, causing an airbag to inflate too much; inflators that are too forceful upon impact; airbags that fail to go off or go off without warning; or poorly designed or untested airbags that do not provide adequate protection.
Autonomous Vehicles/Driverless cars
Some self-driving car accidents can be attributed in whole or in part to defects in the vehicles’ automation systems. Therefore, when the car is on autopilot and essentially “driverless,” when a collision occurs, liability would fall on the vehicle’s manufacturer.
Who is Responsible for Injuries Resulting From an Automotive Defect?
The automotive industry manufacturers are legally responsible for the safety of their products. When their products contain hidden dangers that result in serious injuries or wrongful death, it is the manufacturers who are legally responsible for the injuries they have caused.
For the most part auto defect cases fall into the following two categories:
Crash causing defects. These cases involve motor vehicle collisions which were caused by the automotive defect. But for the defective component, the collision never would have happened. Examples include: steering system malfunctions or tire defects which might cause the car to lose control.
Crashworthiness defects. Crashworthiness defects involve a flaw in the vehicle design which results in a failure to reasonably protect passengers. Examples of this type of defect include seat belt malfunctions or child car-seat defects. While these defects do not cause the vehicle to lose control, they fail to protect vehicle occupants when a crash does occur. The automotive industry has come a long way since the original cars were put on the roads, and they the knowledge to build seat belts, airbags and car seats that are safe. When a manufacturer cuts corners to improve profits, occupant safety can be put at risk.
What About Injuries Caused by Driverless Vehicles?
Driverless vehicles are already on the roads in a few “test subject” American cities, and vehicle failures have already resulted in injuries to the public. In 2016 the attorneys at Hall Law P.A. began conversations with experts in the autonomous vehicle industry in order to better understand the impact driverless vehicles will have on public safety as we go forward. Driverless vehicles operate based on computer algorithms that are fed data from multiple sensors in order to make decisions about the vehicle’s operation. While work in the field has already resulted in stunning technological achievements, the potential for failure is enormous. Sensors can fail for a myriad of reasons and when the input from a sensor is not accurate, the car’s computer can make the wrong decision. Already industry engineers face pressure to put driverless vehicles on the road as quickly as possible, raising obvious concerns for public safety.
The legal implications of injuries caused by driverless cars are not yet sorted out. The attorneys at Hall Law P.A. support efforts to make sure that as Minnesota moves toward a future that involves driverless vehicles, there is fairness for the unlucky people injured by defects in the function of such vehicles. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries resulting from a driverless or automated auto defect, the attorneys at Hall Law, P.A. are here to help victims and their loved ones recover.
Where you or a loved one has been involved in an accident resulting from a defective product, it is important to act swiftly in order to preserve evidence and to ensure other key aspects of your case are not neglected. If you or one of your loved ones has a potential claim, please call us today for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.