September 12, 2012 Articles

Uncovering Potentially Hidden Product-Defect Claims

It is important to consider potential product-defect issues in serious automotive accident cases.

By Christopher J. Roberts

One of the more overlooked areas of potential compensation for victims of serious automobile accidents arises in the context of single-vehicle crashes. Many lawyers who consider accepting representation in such claims know to check for uninsured-motorist coverage. Some also know to check for potential fault on the part of the various governmental or in some cases private entities involved in designing and maintaining the roadway and median where the accident occurred. Far fewer know to consider whether a vehicle or tire defect may have played a role.

Potential product-defect claims that may be uncovered by careful investigation include, among others: 1) tire failure involvement that caused or played a role in the loss of vehicle control; 2) undue rollover propensity of the vehicle leading to enhanced injuries; 3) faulty air bags leading to enhanced injuries; 4) complete absence of optional or available safety equipment that could have prevented the loss of control or that would have lessened the injuries; 5) defective seatbelts that caused a belted occupant to be ejected; and 6) roof crush that may have enhanced the injuries.

Two potential classes of defects are addressed in this article: 1) defects that may have contributed to the accident itself, and 2) defects that may have enhanced injuries suffered by the vehicle occupant(s). The second category is the one most often overlooked by attorneys who do not routinely handle product-defect cases.

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