When you buy a car you expect that it will keep you and your family safe. Most of us are not car experts and will assume that the vehicles we purchase are fit to be driven on the road. Cars sold in the United States must be “crashworthy,” meaning that they are designed and built in a way to prevent injuries. Airbags are one of the most important safety features in a car. When airbags are defective the potential for serious injury (and even death) skyrocket.
Last month, Mitsubishi issued a recall for 66,000 of its vehicles that are believed to have defective Takata airbags installed. This is the latest in a series of product recalls involving Takata airbags. RecallMasters reports that in the time since the airbag defect was noticed more than 42 million cars have been recalled and at least 17 people have been killed. The airbags contain defective inflators which are “prone to rupture during deployment.” This can cause the airbags to deploy unexpectedly or to propel metal shards and shrapnel into the car.
Product Liability Lawsuits in Los Angeles
When defective products cause injuries, victims may be able to recover compensation by filing a product liability lawsuit. In Los Angeles, companies who manufacture, design, or sell products must provide products that are safe. When products are not safe these same companies can be held responsible for resulting injuries. An experienced Los Angeles defective product attorney can help you maximize the money you get in your product liability lawsuit.
Product liability lawsuits are different from other kinds of personal injury claims. This is because they are generally based on the theory of strict liability, rather than negligence. In negligence lawsuits, an injured victim is required to prove that a defendant had and breached a duty of care, and that they suffered an injury as a result. In strict liability lawsuits, an injured victim only needs to prove that an injury occurred because of a defect. The degree or level of care exercised by the defendant is irrelevant.
A victim can file a product liability lawsuit for injuries that are caused by a manufacturing defect, design defect, or the company’s failure to warn about potential risks. Regardless of the type of defect that caused an injury, a victim must establish:
- A product was designed, manufactured, or sold by the defendant; and
- The product contained a defect; and
- The victim was injured as a result of that defect.
Liability and Crashworthiness
When a company like Mitsubishi designs, manufactures, and sells a car they are required to make sure that it is crashworthy. When cars are crashworthy they protect passengers from foreseeable injuries. When a person is injured in a car accident, it is foreseeable that they will suffer some injuries. It is when a car accident victim suffers injuries because of defects that car manufacturers can become liable for not having a crashworthy vehicle.
Here’s an example. Let’s say Sam was involved in a car accident and suffered some serious and life-threatening injuries. The accident itself was not particularly severe. However, the Takata airbags installed in his 2005 Mitsubishi Lance Evolution exploded upon impact, causing metal shrapnel to expel into the car. Most of Sam’s injuries were caused by the defective airbag and not because of the accident itself. In this case, Sam may have a product liability lawsuit because his car was not crashworthy.
Product Recalls and Defective Product Lawsuits
When a company issues a recall it is not automatically free from the negative consequences of an accident. Recalls can help to limit the number of defect-related injuries, but cannot prevent a company from being sued for injuries that those defects do cause. At the same time, a company is not automatically liable for defective products just because they issue a voluntary recall. A victim must be able to prove that they were harmed because of that defective product. The fact that a recall was issued could be used as evidence in a case. However, a recall cannot be the sole basis for awarding compensation.
Experienced Los Angeles Product Recall Injury Attorneys
Have you been injured because of a defective product? If so, you may be entitled to recover compensation from the company that designed, manufactured, or sold that product. This is true even if the company issues a voluntary recall of the defective product.
At Citywide Law Group, we know that an injury can be expensive and overwhelming and that a product liability lawsuit can help to ease some of your pain. Over the past 17 years, our legal team has been able to help thousands of clients recover millions in compensation. Contact our experienced Los Angeles defective product lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case, determine liability, and explain the process of recovering the compensation you need.
Citywide Law Group