Collisions on the road are unfortunately commonplace, and there is always a risk when getting behind the wheel. However, as consumers, we expect our vehicles to be as safe as possible to reduce the risk of crashes. If you have been injured in the Knoxville area by a defective vehicle that has been recalled, skilled car accident lawyer Mark C. Hartsoe can help you pursue proper compensation for your harm. Mr. Hartsoe assists Tennessee residents with taking legal action to cover their losses while they focus on regaining their health. Car accidents involving a defective part or recalled vehicle may require significant time and investigation to show the cause and try to hold the appropriate parties responsible.Guidelines Imposed by Federal Safety Standards
The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards establish minimum performance requirements for vehicle parts, including brakes, tires, lights, and other components that affect a car’s safety. These standards also apply to requirements regarding safety features designed to protect drivers and passengers, such as airbags, seat belts, and child restraints. The federal standards apply to all vehicles or equipment either manufactured or imported to the United States to be driven on public roads. If these standards are not met, whether it is an issue in the manufacturing or design of a part or vehicle, a car may be recalled. Cars may be subject to recalls either if they fail to meet a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard or if there is another dangerous defect in the vehicles or their parts.Holding Manufacturers Accountable for Defective Vehicles
If you have been hurt in a car accident involving a defective vehicle, you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit based on product liability to recover damages for your harm. Product liability claims generally fall into three categories: design defects, manufacturing defects, or failure to warn. Many vehicle recalls are due to a design defect, and sometimes a defect in manufacturing. Manufacturing defects happen if there is a mistake assembling a vehicle or component, making it different from others assembled at the same time. When this happens, a manufacturer can be held strictly liable for a defect caused by inconsistent production, even if it took safety precautions during the process. In a product liability claim involving a manufacturing defect, the injured person just needs to show that the defect that caused the harm was present at the time the car left the manufacturer’s control.
Often, a car is recalled due to a defect in its design, which means there is a fundamental flaw in the overall design of a vehicle or part that makes it inherently dangerous to a consumer. This type of defect would be found in all of the cars or parts manufactured, such as in the recent massive recall of Ford Motor Co. vehicles that had a tendency to catch fire due to a faulty cruise-control switch. To show a design defect, an accident victim must establish that:
- The design of a vehicle or part was unreasonably dangerous prior to manufacture;
- The danger was apparent by a consumer’s ordinary use;
- The manufacturer could have used a different, superior design that was cost-effective; and
- The faulty design was the cause of the victim’s injuries and damages.
Multiple parties may be responsible for injuries sustained in a car accident involving a recalled vehicle, and establishing how a victim was hurt can be vital to a claim. For instance, if a car catches fire, causing severe burns to a driver or passenger, the cause of the fire must be shown to be due to the defect alleged.
In Tennessee, individuals who are injured by a faulty vehicle often can seek compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and property damage. Detailed investigation is important in all types of product liability claims. These cases can be very complex and may require the testimony of experts. Consulting a knowledgeable product liability attorney can help make sure your rights are preserved.Discuss Your Car Accident with a Knoxville Lawyer
If you have been hurt in a vehicle collision involving a recalled or defective car or truck, Knoxville attorney Mark C. Hartsoe can assist you in assessing your legal options. Mr. Hartsoe helps clients throughout the state of Tennessee in all stages of proceedings, from gathering evidence to settlement negotiations and litigation. The Hartsoe Law Firm is dedicated to helping individuals injured by a defective vehicle or component seek the compensation that they deserve from those responsible for putting a dangerous automobile on the road. To schedule an initial consultation, call (865) 524-5657, or contact us online.