Los Angeles Auto Defect Lawyers
Defective vehicles and faulty components such as tires and brakes seriously injure and kill thousands of Americans every year. Federal law requires auto manufacturers to report a safety defect within five days of learning about the defect. Automakers have a duty and a legal responsibility to manufacture vehicles that are safe for consumers. When auto components or safety features in a vehicle are defective, the consumer can no longer count on the vehicle to protect him or her in the event of a crash.
The Los Angeles auto defect lawyers at BISNAR CHASE have represented individuals who have been severely or catastrophically injured as a result of vehicle defects. We have represented victims who lost loved ones as a result of auto defects.
Our law firm has the resources and motivation to conduct independent investigations and testing. You need a strong team of injury lawyers who have had a successful track record of holding large automakers accountable. We are such a team that is dedicated to making the world a safer place for consumers. If you have been seriously injured or have lost a loved one as the result of a defective auto, please contact us at 1-323-238-4683 for a free and comprehensive consultation.
What is an Auto Safety Defect?
The United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety (Title 49, Chapter 301) defines auto safety as "the performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle, and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident."
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines an auto safety defect as any defect in the performance, construction, a component, material or equipment that goes into a vehicle. A safety defect in a vehicle is a problem that poses a risk to motor vehicle safety and issues that "may exist in a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacture, or items of equipment of the same type and manufacture."
Examples of Safety Defects in Vehicles
Not all defects or malfunctions in vehicles are safety defects. Here are just a few examples of what are classified as safety defects in automobiles:
- Problems with engine, fuel system or fuel leaks that could potentially cause fires.
- Sticky accelerator pedals that could lead to sudden or unintended acceleration.
- Car seats or seat-backs that could fail or collapse unexpectedly during normal use or in low-impact collisions.
- Airbags that fail to deploy or deploy suddenly and unexpectedly.
- Seatbelts or seat restraint systems that fail to protect occupants in the event of a crash.
- Wheels that crack or break resulting in loss of vehicle control.
- Steering components that fail or break causing loss of vehicle control.
- Software or electronic glitches that could lead to loss of vehicle control or safety systems deactivating.
- Windshield wipers that fail to operate properly.
- Child safety seats that contain faulty belts, buckles or other components that could create a risk of injury or death.
Reporting Your Auto Defect to NHTSA
If you believe that your vehicle or a vehicle part may be faulty, it is crucial that you report it to NHTSA to get the problem fixed. NHTSA often receives similar reports from other drivers about products that are defective. This could indicate that a safety-related defect exists. In such cases, NHTSA opens an investigation. The agency would initiate an engineering analysis if the complaints are valid and eventually ask the manufacturer to issue a recall and fix the safety issue. Filing a complaint with NHTSA, however, is an important first step.
There are several ways in which you can do this. You may call NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or 1-800-424-9393 toll free from anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands to register complaints or receive recall information about a vehicle. You could also report a vehicle safety issue at NHTSA's web site, safercar.gov. Or you may send a letter to NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
Manufacturing Versus Design Defect
Auto defects could occur during the design or the manufacturing process. A design defect occurs when the product or a part of it is designed erroneously. To determine if a vehicle's design was defective, it may be necessary to look into the product's blueprint or original design. If it is reasonably foreseeable that the design could harm vehicle occupants, the manufacturer of the vehicle can be held liable.
Manufacturing defects occur during the assembly or the actual production of the vehicle. In such cases, plaintiffs must show that the defect was present when the vehicle was manufactured and that he or she properly used the product. In other words, the plaintiff must show that the car accident and resulting injuries would not have occurred but for the faulty part.
Preserving Evidence in a Los Angeles Auto Defect Case
The vehicle is the most important piece of evidence in an auto defect case. So, it is important that the vehicle that is suspected of being defective or malfunctioning is preserved unaltered so that an expert can thoroughly examine it for defects, malfunctions and design flaws. When such evidence is misplaced, lost or destroyed, there is very little opportunity for the plaintiff to pursue a case and hold the at-fault parties accountable. It is also important that injured victims maintain a log of all their expenses including medical bills, cost of medication, rehabilitation, medical devices, lost income and any other loss that was incurred as a result of the injury.
Get Legal Help in Los Angeles
If what we've described here sounds like you may have a case contact our California auto defect attorneys for free information about your rights, how to file an injury claim and for award winning representation. You may schedule an interview in our Los Angeles office or we will come to you if your injuries prevent travel.
Los Angeles, California 90045