In Kennesaw and in other parts of Georgia, automobile accidents are most often the result of driver error — some failure to keep careful watch, some failure to obey traffic laws or something similar.
But another common cause of car wrecks are manufacturer defects or mechanical flaws that are not the result of actions by the driver or the owner of the car. Many times an auto accident combines both; driver error may cause the accident, but manufacturer or mechanical defects may cause an increase in the severity of injuries.
A tragic example of this occurred in July 2017 when a young Cobb County woman was stopped stopped on Bells Ferry Road waiting to make a left onto Hartley Woods Drive. While she was waiting to turn, she was rear-ended by another vehicle. As a result of the collision, her 1996 Jeep Cherokee caught fire and was engulfed in flames. See news report here. The young woman was trapped in the Cherokee and was pronounced dead a the scene.
According to the news reports, the family of the young woman has recently filed suit against the driver that rear-ended her, against the manufacturer of the aftermarket hitch that was installed on the Jeep and against the manufacturer of the Jeep, Chrysler. With respect to Chrysler, the claim is that Chrysler negligently manufactured/designed the Jeep creating a dangerous condition whereby a rear-end collision can puncture the gas tank causing the Jeep to explode into flames.
If you or a family member are injured in a car wreck because of a manufacturing defect or mechanical failure, in Kennesaw, you are entitled to be fully compensated for any and all injuries, for damage to your car, for medical bills, pain and suffering and many other categories of damages. You should immediately contact dedicated and proven Kennesaw automobile accident and product liability lawyers.
Automobile Accidents in Kennesaw — Types Of Manufacturer Defects
Given the large number of parts and components in a modern automobile, the list of possible manufacturer defects and design flaws is probably endless. Now that electronics have become integral to proper functioning, the list now includes hardware, software or other technology failures as well as more traditional failures of metal, rubber and plastic. That being said, here are some of the more common manufacturer defects included:
- Malfunctioning brakes;
- Tires and wheels;
- Steering systems;
- Suspensions and carriage;
- Windshield wipers;
- Blower and window clearance devices; and
- Headlights and taillights.
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Automobile Accidents in Kennesaw — When Is The Car Manufacturer Liable?
To recover against a car manufacturer after an auto accident in Kennesaw caused or made worse by some design defect or a mechanical failure, the victim must demonstrate negligence on the part of the car maker. Although product liability is nuanced, in general, four elements must be proven: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
The duty of care under Georgia law is that the car makers must take reasonable steps to minimize the risk to drivers and passengers in the event of an accident. This duty arises because, for each and every vehicle manufactured, it is “reasonably foreseeable” that those cars will, at some point, be involved in some type of accident. Since car wrecks and collisions often result in injury and even death to drivers and passengers, car makers are under a duty to minimize the risks of injury and death. As an example, car makers now make cars with a sort of cage-like strong metal structure that surrounds the occupants that is designed to resist crumpling during a collision. Being able to withstand such crumpling protects the occupants of the vehicle.
Likewise, vehicles should be designed to not to explode into fire if the vehicle is rear-ended.
Car makers are also required under Georgia law to fix and correct design and/or manufacturer defects once they become known. This is why you hear news reports of “product recalls” for various car models. For example, Chrysler — now Fiat Chrysler — just issued a recall for 1.8 million Ram pickups to fix a faulty part that may enable drivers to shift out of park without depressing the brake pedal. The owners are expected to take their vehicles in to have the defect corrected. Failure to do so can shift the blame for an accident to the owner, not the car maker.
Note that a car maker will be held to the duty as of the time of the manufacture. Most cars now have anti-lock and automatic braking systems. A car without such safety systems might well be considered unsafe and a per se violation of the car maker’s duty of care. But an old car — made prior to the advent of the technology — would not be held to that standard.
Automobile Accidents in Kennesaw — Who Else Might Be Liable?
Aside from the manufacturer, there are several other potential parties who might be held negligent. In fact, most lawsuits involving automotive products liability involve sustained efforts to shift the blame to actors.
For example, owners DO have obligations as owners to keep their vehicles in good repair. Thus, owners and drivers should check the air pressure in your tires, get normal maintenance, replace worn out windshield wipers and related normal maintenance. If the car maker can show that the accident was caused by improper owner maintenance, then the car maker might avoid liability for some defect or failure.
The same reasoning applies to mechanics and others who might have done repairs or maintenance on the vehicle. If the car maker can show that the defect or mechanical failure was caused by a faulty repair or something similar, then the car maker might avoid liability for some alleged manufacturer defect or failure.
In the tragic case discussed at the beginning of this article, it is highly likely that Chrysler will argue that the hitch manufacturer/installer is the true party at fault. Chrysler will argue that, but for the hitch being installed, the Jeep would not have burst into flames.
Kennesaw Car Accidents: Contact the Roger Ghai Law Offices
As can be seen, accidents involving defective parts and mechanical failure require skill and dedication from proven car accident and product liability attorneys. If you been in a car wreck in Kennesaw or Cobb County because a mechanical failure, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at the Roger Ghai Law Offices. We provide legal services for the residents of Cobb County including the communities of Acworth, Marietta, Kennesaw and surrounding areas. Click here today to schedule your consultation.