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Can You Sue a Car Manufacturer

Can You Sue a Car Manufacturer

If you’ve suffered injuries, damages, or losses due to a defective vehicle, you may be wondering if you can sue a car manufacturer.

The simple answer is: Yes.

The article I created below breaks down the reasons you would be able to sue a car manufacturer, the type of lawyer you would need to hire, as well as the evidence you will need to compile to win your case.

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4 Reasons To Sue a Car Manufacturer?

There are several situations that provide valid reasons to sue a car company:

1. Vehicle Defects

  • Installing faulty or defective parts like airbags, seatbelts, tires, brakes etc. that contribute to accidents and injuries.
  • Safety defects such as airbags failing to deploy or seatbelts malfunctioning during accidents.
  • Rollover accidents resulting from faulty design making cars dangerously unstable

2. False Advertising and Deceptive Marketing

Overstating a vehicle’s safety ratings, performance capabilities, or fuel efficiency through false or misleading advertising. This violates consumer protection laws.

4. Warranty Violations

Failing to honor obligations such as repairing defects covered under the vehicle warranty can prompt a breach of warranty lawsuit.

5. Accidents & Injuries

If a vehicle defect directly contributes to or worsens an accident, the injuries, and damages incurred provide perhaps the clearest grounds for suing the automaker liable.

What Type of Lawyer Do You Need to Sue a Car Manufacturer?

To build the strongest case possible against a large car company, you need an attorney specializing in auto product liability litigation. The most relevant legal experts include:

Product Liability Lawyers

They can demonstrate vehicles were defective, unreasonably dangerous and responsible for damages based on strict liability laws. They can coordinate technical analysis of mechanical flaws and complex legal arguments attributing blame.

Lemon Law Attorneys

If the issues stem from warranty violations or quality standards breaches, lemon law specialists leverage your state statutes to seek repayment, refund or vehicle replacement recourse.

Personal Injury Attorneys

If you were injured in an accident caused by a vehicle defect, personal injury legal advocates can sue for the associated medical bills, lost wages, and other damages incurred.

Can You Sue a Car Manufacturer in Small Claims Court?

While small claims court can resolve simple consumer complaints quicker and cheaper, auto defect lawsuits require extensive technical evidence and in-depth legal expertise.

Pursuing compensation in small claims without legal guidance is extremely difficult. The financial caps on damage awards also severely limit financial recourse.

Can You Sue a Car Manufacturer for Airbags Not Deploying?

Yes, you typically can sue an automaker if your airbags failed to properly deploy in an accident. However, you must prove certain elements for a successful claim.

When Airbag Lawsuits May Apply

There are three primary scenarios where you could have grounds to take legal action if airbags did not activate properly:

Manufacturing Defects: Flaws during production caused the airbags to malfunction when deployed.

Design Defects: The airbag system was inherently prone to failure regardless of manufacturing quality.

Failure to Warn: The manufacturer did not adequately warn consumers about risks or limitations.

Key Elements to Prove

To demonstrate the automaker’s liability for airbag non-deployment and secure damages, your attorney would need to establish:

  • The crash circumstances dictated the airbags should have deployed based on the vehicle’s specifications.
  • Evidence points to a clear defect, malfunction or failure to explain lack of airbag activation.
  • Your injuries were directly worsened by the missing airbag protection.
  • You suffered calculable losses like medical bills, lost wages or pain/suffering tied directly to the missing airbag.

Building Your Case Against the Automaker

Successfully suing an automaker involves gathering solid evidence to prove:

The Vehicle Defect Directly Caused Your Damages

  • Proving the faulty part, safety issue, or design flaw directly led to your accident and injuries is crucial. Your attorney can consult technical experts to demonstrate the defect caused the crash.

You Operated the Vehicle Correctly

  • It’s important to show you used the vehicle in the intended manner when the accident occurred. This rules out driver error and strengthens the liability claim against the manufacturer.

The Manufacturer Knew About the Risks

  • Demonstrating the automaker was aware of potential defects or safety hazards but did not address them can prove negligence and liability. Your lawyer can request internal documents through legal discovery to uncover this.

Table summarizing key evidence in vehicle defect cases:

Type of EvidenceDetailsHow It Helps Your Case
Vehicle inspection report by expertIdentifies mechanical flaws/defectsProves defect caused accident
Accident reconstruction dataModels how defect led to crashDemonstrates causation
Internal memos, emailsShows company aware of risksHighlights negligence
Safety testing documentationReveals if tests missed defectsReinforces liability
Service recordsPatterns of unresolved issuesSupports breach of warranty

Having documented proof the defective vehicle caused discernible injuries and damages is also required before proceeding to calculating compensation.

Compensation Available in Successful Defect Lawsuits

If your lawsuit succeeds in proving liability and injury causation against the automaker, the potential damages awarded can include:

Economic Damages

  • Medical expenses – bills from accident injuries
  • Loss of income and earning capacity
  • Repairs/replacement costs – property damage

Non-economic Damages

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment/quality of life

In Some Cases

  • Punitive damages – to punish and deter automakers from negligence

Damage amounts vary widely based on case specifics but often total hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. An experienced attorney can provide guidance on reasonable compensation estimates.

Key Takeaways

  • You can sue an automaker for vehicle defects causing injury/damage but must prove liability
  • Having clear evidence the defect directly led to discernible damages is required
  • An attorney experienced in auto product liability cases is strongly recommended
  • Multiple compensation types could be awarded if successful – damages often significant

Suing a large automaker is extremely complex, so consulting an attorney specializing in auto product liability cases is highly advised before proceeding.

They can evaluate your situation, guide you through legal options, represent your best interests against powerful manufacturers, and maximize success potential.

Many personal injury law firms offer free initial consultations and work on a contingency fee basis – meaning legal fees only apply if compensation is awarded.

Look for a lawyer with expertise specific to vehicle defects and track record of favorable case outcomes.

They will handle gathering technical evidence from accident forensics, navigate legal complexities, including state lemon laws, initiate settlement negotiations when appropriate, and take the lawsuit to trial if necessary.

Sources For This Article

Legal Disclaimer: This article provides general information about legal options and rights and should not be construed as formal legal advice. The information here does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Consult an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction for advice specific to your situation before taking legal action.

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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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