Most personal injury claims that arise out of car accidents involve allegations of negligence by one or more of the drivers involved. In some cases, however, the car manufacturer or others may have contributed to the accident through their negligence in letting unsafe vehicles on the road.
Under the law of product liability, manufacturers and others who put defective products into the stream of commerce may be held liable when the defect causes injury.
Automaker giant General Motors, which has been embroiled in high-profile litigation over faulty ignition switches on some of its vehicles, was recently hit with a new product liability lawsuit. The new suit alleges that GM used a bad design on the headlights of its Cadillac SRX sports utility vehicles, leading to malfunctions. According to the lawsuit, filed by three plaintiffs in federal court, the bad parts in the headlights caused the lights to prematurely fail, creating safety hazards.
The lawsuit further alleges that GM officials knew about the design flaw, and even told dealers about it, but failed to notify owners of the cars about the problem. When owners brought their SRX vehicles in for service on failed headlights, the lawsuit claims, GM merely replaced the failed parts with duplicates that were marred by the same design flaw.
If true, the allegations are especially shocking in light of the GM's long-running litigation over faulty ignition switches in some of its vehicles. Investigators said those faulty switches were implicated in 124 deaths. In order to resolve that litigation, the automaker has already recalled more than 2 million vehicles and agreed to pay more than $2 billion and narrowly averted a criminal probe.
If you have been injured due to a defect in your car, it is important to talk to a personal injury lawyer about your legal options. Product liability lawsuits are technically difficult and legally complex, but they can be the best way to compensate the injured for their damages, and they can be powerful tools for promoting safer products.