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Manufacturers may be held in strict liability in defect cases

If you own a car, SUV, truck or any other kind of motor vehicle, the investment you made is for more than just transportation. You also paid for a vehicle that will help keep you safe while you are on the road. A vehicle malfunction while in motion could result in occupants suffering serious injuries.

Automobile manufacturers are required to make sure that their vehicles are safe. Should a car defect be responsible for causing an injury accident, the manufacturer could be held liable for damages.

Manufacturers can be held in what is called "strict liability," which means that a plaintiff needs simply to demonstrate that a defect caused the accident, regardless of what measures may have been taken by the manufacturer to try to ensure the vehicle's safety. In order to have the strict liability doctrine enforced, the following three conditions must be proven:

  • That no substantial changes were made to the vehicle after the time of the original sale. A "substantial" change would be something that altered the vehicle's performance.
  • That either the vehicle or one of the vehicle's components contained a defect, which was "unreasonably dangerous," and that the defect caused your injury. The defect may have occurred during the design, production, or shipping phase of the manufacturing process. The manufacturer could also be liable for thoroughly failing to warn consumers about a known defect.
  • That the vehicle was being operated in the manner intended when the injury occurred. If you were driving recklessly at the time of the injury, you may be unable to receive damages.

Not all defects create serious hazards, but many do. When a manufacturer discovers that one of their vehicles has such a defect, they have a duty of care to inform the public and perform a recall. If you or a member of your family should come to harm due to a defect, a New York products liability attorney could help you seek appropriate compensation to cover your medical and associated costs.

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