NC Product Liability Lawyer: Defective Car Part That Causes Wreck | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Imagine driving down the road and, all of a sudden, your brakes stop working or you run over a pot hole and your air bags suddenly deploy causing bodily injury. These are circumstances where there may be a car part defect claim (aka product liability) against the manufacturer. 

Product liability usually come in two varieties: (1) Defectively manufactured vehicles or vehicle parts (e.g., door that doesn’t remain locked while driving) and (2) Vehicles with an unreasonably dangerous design (this is different from the defectively manufactured vehicles in that there is no defect in the product, but the design may cause dangers.

In terms of taking legal action, it is crucial to identify all parties that may be potentially liable for your injury while driving the vehicle. Why? Because liability could extend through the “chain of commerce”. This chain proceeds from the Manufacturer (ex: General motors, ford motor company) to the parts manufacturer (often not all parts are manufactured by the car company itself, ex: tires), to the car dealership who in part put the defect product in the chain of commerce and most directly into your use. The chain also includes shippers (ex: problem could’ve developed during the travel of the parts). Even a used car dealer could be potentially liable. 

Keep in mind that even if the car did not belong to you and you don’t legally own it, it is implied that a car may be used by another other person than the owner. Therefore, any defects that would harm a temporary user will be covered under something called the “fitness for ordinary use” doctrine.

As mentioned above, you may have both a negligence claim against another driver and a products liability claim against the manufacturer, filing one doesn’t negate the other and both should be filed.