Accidents Caused by Defective Vehicles

Accidents Caused by Defective Vehicles in Pennsylvania

Most car accidents in Pennsylvania are caused by driver negligence, but sometimes an accident can be made worse or caused by a defect in the vehicle. If a vehicle defect causes or contributes to an accident, then those injured in the accident may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer or seller of the defective item. In terms of vehicles, this could mean the car’s manufacturer, the manufacturer of the specific defective part or the dealership that sold the defective car. It is important to understand the types of accidents that typically fall under this category and special conditions of product liability lawsuits.

Strict Liability Laws in Pennsylvania

A key component of product liability suits is the concept of strict liability. This means that the injured person does not have to prove actual negligence or carelessness on the part of the manufacturer or seller of the defective vehicle. For example, if an airbag fails to deploy during an accident, leading to more serious injuries, the mere fact that the airbag did not perform according to specifications is enough for strict liability to apply.

Knowledge of the Defect

It is important that defective products be reported and then not used. Strict liability does not apply in Pennsylvania if the person knew or was warned about the defect and then continued to use the product anyway. For example, if a person’s mechanic discovers a defect in the car’s breaking system and tells the owner, and then the owner continues to drive the car anyway, they may not be able to successfully file lawsuit if an accident happens because of the defect. A dealer or seller may be at fault if they knew about the defect but sold the vehicle anyway without telling the buyer.

Appropriate Use

Especially in terms of car accidents, it is important to understand some limits on strict liability. According to the law, strict liability only applies of injuries occurred while the product in question was being used appropriately. Unless the defect caused the car accident itself, it may be argued that the vehicle was not being used properly, so any defect is not related to the injuries sustained. In a car accident, it would then have to be proven that the defect made the injuries worse even if the defect did not cause the accident itself. For example, if a car rolls over due to an accident that may be the driver’s fault, but the rollover bars fail to prevent the collapse of the cabin’s vehicle, product liability could still be claimed because the cabin would not have collapsed if the bars were functioning properly. 

In any accident, a failure in the vehicle’s safety systems like airbags, seatbelts, rollover bars and such may be subject to a product liability suit. There are many possible defects in a vehicle that could bring a lawsuit, and it is important to discuss the situation with an attorney.

If you have been in a car accident in Pennsylvania that was caused by a defective vehicle, call Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyers right away.

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