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The Accident Liability of Manufacturers for Design Defects

The Accident Liability of Manufacturers for Design Defects

What accident liability do vehicle or component manufacturers have for design defects? What are common defects that are known to cause motor vehicle accidents? The fact is that vehicle defects are one of the most common contributing causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States and recent recall information highlights the risks. From faulty tires to malfunctioning computer control modules, these defects can cause serious injuries and wrongful deaths. When a vehicle defect causes a crash, plaintiffs can pursue compensation from the company for their negligence in design and manufacturing.

Common Design Defects That Result in Recalls

Defective brake systems are one of the most common defects in the country. Brake failures cause roughly 5% of motor vehicle accidents. That's roughly 300,000 accidents per year. This spring, Subaru recalled 1.3 million vehicles due to defective brake switches. This month, Ford recalled their 2020 Explorer and Lincoln Aviators because of faulty brakes. In both cases, problems with quality control caused issues that can result in the vehicle moving even when braking systems are applied.

Bad tires are bad for driving, and there have been a number of high-profile recalls of dangerous tires this past decade. Most recently, Cooper Tire recalled 24,459 tires due to the potential for cord distortion which can result in tire failure and loss of handling control. This followed the Toyo Tire Holdings recall of tires earlier this summer, and the infamous 2000 Firestone recall of more than 6.5 million tires.

Steering system failure can result in sudden loss of control over the vehicle. This spring, General Motors was forced to recall 26,772 Cadillacs, Corvettes, and Camaros over problems with defective control boards. When control boards failed, they made it very difficult to steer the vehicles which increased the risk of a motor vehicle accident. This follows a recall of nearly 1.02 million vehicles over similar problems in 2018.

Headlights are another frequently cited cause of design defects that contribute to causing a motor vehicle accident. Volkswagen recently recalled more than 660,000 Passats and Atlas SUVs because of improperly aligned headlights. These defects, which occurred during installation, reduce the vehicle's visibility and limited the visibility of drivers.

Similarly, faulty windshield wipers can also reduce visibility and increase the risk of an accident. Mazda recently recalled more than 187,000 vehicles due to defective design that could cause the wiper to stick while in operation. This follows a similar windshield wiper related recall from 2018 when 367,000 General Motors vehicles demonstrated higher than normal failure rates. The NHTSA is still assessing whether the company should recall these vehicles.

Brad Pistotnik Law is a Wichita law firm that represents clients in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, Missouri, and Illinois. Contact us today to learn more about accident liability. Our team can help you recover compensation for accidents caused by faulty vehicle design and component manufacture.