In Alabama each year hundreds of people die and thousands suffer injuries in car accidents. There are many variables that contribute to auto accidents, far too many to offer a complete list. Sometimes driver error or negligence causes a crash. Sometimes weather or construction issues can make roads unusually dangerous. There are even occasions that an accident is simply an accident.
But regardless of the cause, accidents result in injuries. Injuries cause pain, medical bills and lost wages for the victims. After sustaining an injury in a motor vehicle accident or losing someone you love, the next step is often trying to figure out who is responsible for your suffering? This step can be difficult while you try to recover. The Alabama attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt can assist you. We have experience with all types of automotive cases and can work with you to get the compensation to which you may be entitled.
There are countless reasons why any one accident may take place, and many parties may be responsible. The driver, highway department and bar that served the driver alcohol may all play some part in any single accident. Could an entirely different entity be found liable for your injuries that result? It is possible, but every case is different.
A case was filed in Alabama several years ago alleging that a defectively designed vehicle caused the death and injuries of a driver and passenger in an accident. The lawsuit involved a post-collision fire that caused the driver to suffer debilitating burns and killed the other occupant of the car. The lawsuit alleged that the vehicle was defectively designed in that the fuel tank was located right next to a hard metal muffler. The muffler had a sharp edge, and the tank had no proper shield, and the combination posed a tremendous danger of a ruptured fuel tank and fire. The complaint alleged that the car manufacturer should have known that this design created a high likelihood of a post-collision fuel fire and posed an “unreasonable risk” to drivers and other occupants of the car. Apparently, the jury agreed and awarded the Plaintiffs several million dollars.
Design Defects in Automobile Cases
We all know that dangers exist on our roads. There is only so much we can do to avoid accidents. But drivers and passengers have an expectation that the vehicle they occupy is reasonably safe. We trust car manufacturers to use proper care and precautions so that we are less likely to suffer severe injury if we do find ourselves in an accident. There are situations like the one above where injuries may have been avoided or made less severe if not for a design defect in the vehicle. Other times, there may be design defects in the way safety features in a car are manufactured or designed. For example, airbags are installed to prevent drivers and passengers from hitting the dashboard and steering wheel. But airbags may not deploy in some situations, causing a driver to hit the wheel hard. The airbags themselves may cause injury with their force or because they pop out at a bad angle. Even a seatbelt that is designed to save lives may have a flaw that contributes to injuries. On occasion, the manufacturer could have installed a part to make a vehicle safer but wrongfully decided not to do so.
Design defects sometimes contribute to or cause an accident, not just injuries. Poorly designed brakes, for example, can render it impossible to stop or slow to avoid a collision. A manufacturing or design defect in a tire may cause it to lose tread or blow out causing a car to skid, lose control, and crash.
In any event, proving a design defect case against a large car manufacturer is difficult and litigating a case can be quite complex. To successfully navigate a design defect claim in Alabama and elsewhere, you need an experienced team and their resources behind you. You will need to gather information and inspections of the damaged vehicle, the roads, maintenance records, and factory information. Just finding the right people to speak to you can be tricky. In order to bolster your case, you will want to conduct research into similar accidents to see if the defect injured others and finding and analyzing these records can take time. If a pattern emerges, you may want to consider whether a class action is appropriate. In addition, you will need medical experts to provide information about your injuries, future complications, and whether properly functioning safety equipment may have mitigated your suffering. Of course, you will also need to provide evidence of the costs you face because of your injuries. Your damages may include lost wages, medical expenses, pain, and suffering.
Contact our Attorneys
If you have been injured in an auto accident in Alabama and think that a design defect may have caused your injuries, please contact our experienced accident attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt today. It is important that you have a knowledgeable person analyze the specifics of your case and injuries. Alabama, like all states, has a period during which you are permitted to file a claim in an accident case. We have no way of knowing how much time you have until we hear the facts of your case. Please contact Farris, Riley & Pitt so we may help you preserve your legal right to compensation.