On July 23, 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the recall by General Motors LLC (GM) of 57,242 vehicles for a power-steering defect that can increase the risk of a crash in the affected cars. The recalled vehicles include certain model year 2014 Chevrolet Impalas manufactured between November 5, 2012, and December 20, 2013. According to the NHTSA report, poor electrical ground connections to the Power Steering Control Modules (PSCM) in the vehicles may cause a loss of power steering during the start-up of the vehicles or while the vehicles are being driven. If power steering is lost while vehicles are being driven, greater effort will be required to steer the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash. This risk is enhanced by the fact that drivers may lose their power steering without a moment’s warning. GM has stated that it will notify owners of the affected vehicles, and that Chevrolet dealers will update the PSCM software, free of charge.
Power steering and other motor vehicle defects can cause personal injuries and wrongful death, not only to the drivers and occupants of the defective vehicles but also to the drivers and passengers of other vehicles. Who is responsible if you or a family member is killed or injured as a result of a defect in your own vehicle? What if you are injured or a family member is killed as a result of a crash caused by a defect in someone else’s vehicle? The answers to these questions may depend on the law of the state in which a personal injury or wrongful death action is filed.
If you or a family member has been injured or killed in a car crash as a result of a defect in a motor vehicle or someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or family member’s death. The Killino Firm’s team of accident and wrongful death lawyers has extensive experience with all types of accident and personal injury cases, including those arising out of auto or car accidents caused by defects in cars and other motor vehicles. Contact The Killino Firm for expert assistance with your car or other motor vehicle accident case.
Legal Liability for Injuries and Deaths Caused by Defects in Motor Vehicle
Manufacturers and others in the chain of a motor vehicle’s distribution may be held liable for injuries and deaths caused by a defect in the motor vehicle. These actions are generally brought as product liability actions, which are governed by state law. Though product liability law differs to some extent from one state to another, most states have enacted some form of the Model Uniform Product Liability Act (MUPLA). Thus, under most states’ product liability laws, product liability actions may be brought against the manufacturer, designer, assembler, suppliers, and, in some states, the retailers of defective motor vehicles.
These actions may generally be brought as breach of warranty, negligence, or strict liability claims, though the strict liability form of product liability action is usually brought to recover damages for someone’s personal injury or death caused by a vehicle or other product defect. This allows the plaintiff to establish liability on the part of all of the defendants without having to show that any of the defendants was negligent in producing a defective vehicle or releasing it to the market. The plaintiff in strict liability actions can meet his or her burden of proof by showing that it is more likely than not that the vehicle contained a defect at the time the victim’s injury or death causing accident occurred, that the defect was a cause of the victim’s injury or death, and that the plaintiff suffered legally compensable damages as a result of the victim’s injury or death.
A vehicle can be found defective in a product liability action if the vehicle was designed in a defective manner, manufactured in a defective manner, or released to the market without warnings of certain dangers associated with the vehicle’s use. Regardless of the form of defect in a particular vehicle, all the defendants referenced above may be found liable for injuries or deaths caused by the defect.
Can these same defendants be held liable for a victim’s injury or death if the defect that caused the injury or death was in a vehicle other than the one in which the victim was riding or driving? Under most states’ product liability laws, the answer to this question is yes. If the plaintiff can establish that a defect in another vehicle caused a crash—for instance, because the vehicle’s power steering failed while the vehicle was being driven—and that the crash resulted in the victim’s injury or death, the manufacturer of the defective vehicle as well as others in the chain of that vehicle’s distribution may be found liable, in a product liability action, for the victim’s injury or death.
Obtain Expert Assistance from The Killino Firm, P.C.
The Killino Firm’s team of car and auto accident attorneys has significant experience with all types of vehicle accident cases and is dedicated to holding those responsible for injuries and deaths caused by vehicle defects responsible through legal action. If you have been injured or a family member has been killed in a car or other motor vehicle crash and you suspect that your injuries or loved one’s death was caused by a defect in one of the vehicles involved, The Killino Firm can help you fight for the compensation to which you and your family are entitled.
Image courtesy of cbcnews.com