San Bernardino Auto Defect Lawyer
Automobiles are an integral part of our lives. This is true especially in Southern California where everyday life is nearly impossible without a car. The average person in the United States takes four car trips a day. Automakers advertise their vehicles as "safe havens" or as a "refuge for the entire family." But are cars always designed and manufactured with as much safety in mind as is reasonably and technologically possible. If you look at the number of vehicles that are recalled each year, you will realize that vehicles are not always safe and automakers are not always diligent about investing in vehicle safety.
Why BISNAR CHASE?
The San Bernardino auto defect lawyers at BISNAR CHASE have a long and successful track record of handling these types of cases. We have the knowledge, skill and tenacity to stand up and fight against large automakers. We are not intimidated by them. Instead, we are driven by the passion to get justice and fair compensation for our clients. We hope that our work in the area of product liability will help change the shape of cars in the future so they are safer for all consumers, not just those who can pay more to get better safety features. Auto safety should not be a luxury, it should be deemed a necessity. If you have been injured due to a defective auto, please contact us at (800) 561-4887 to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.
Is it Always about Driver Error?
When a catastrophic or fatal accident occurs, the tendency on the part of most people is to conclude that the drivers involved did something wrong. While in many cases, it is true that drivers are responsible for crashes, it is also often true that a product defect also contributed to the accident and/or injuries. For example, a driver may have overcorrected and caused an accident or rollover. However, if the roof is well designed so it does not crush or the seatbelt buckle is designed so it is strong and does not unlatch, then, the vehicle's occupants will survive the accident and come out of it with minimal injuries.
However, in far too many cases, the role of a defective auto part is underplayed or never identified, the driver is blamed, the case is not litigated properly and the victim and his or her family do not get the justice they deserve. Driver error is also a common excuse automakers freely use to escape liability for their defective products.
What Constitutes an Auto Defect?
Federal law defines auto safety as the performance of a vehicle or equipment in a way that protects consumers against the "unreasonable risk of accidents" that occur due to the design, construction or performance of a motor vehicle, and against the unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident. A safety defect is a problem that exists in a motor vehicle or vehicle part that poses a risk to motor vehicle safety and may exist in a group of vehicles or vehicle parts of the same design or manufacture.
Here are some common examples of vehicle safety defects:
- Airbags that fail to deploy or deploy suddenly without warning.
- Steering components that break or malfunction resulting in loss of vehicle control.
- Fuel leaks that lead to vehicle fires.
- Seats or seatbacks that fail unexpectedly during normal use or in low-impact collisions.
- Brakes that fail completely or don't work properly.
- Seatbelts that unlatch during a crash.
A vehicle or part recall becomes necessary when a motor vehicle or a part, including tires, does not comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. Recalls are issued when there is a safety-related defect in the vehicle or equipment as well. Automakers are required to report any safety defect relating to a vehicle or part within five days of finding out about it.
However, automakers are not always diligent about following the law. We have seen several examples of such lack of diligence including Toyota, which stalled for years before recalling more than 10 million vehicles for sudden acceleration issues. Automakers, after they issue a recall, are required to fix the problem for free. This often costs millions of dollars, which is why these manufacturers try to avoid or stall a recall as much as possible.
Putting Profits Before People
Often, we find that automakers do not need to make a major financial commitment to make vehicles and safety systems safer. For example, General Motors could have fixed its defective ignitions for under $1 per vehicle. Instead, the company chose not to act on the matter. Today, 13 people are dead as a result of that negligence. Many cars today have seats that are no better than lawn chairs. It would not take much to make them stronger. But automakers don't act on it. The same goes for safer windshields, window glass, airbags, seatbelts and stronger roofs. The question is: When will safety become a priority for these automakers?
Preserving the Evidence
If you suspect that you have been involved in an accident or injured as the result of a faulty vehicle or vehicle parts, it is crucial that you preserve the vehicle in its current state, unaltered. It is absolutely critical that an expert thoroughly examines the vehicle for evidence of manufacturing defects, malfunctions and design flaws. An experienced auto defect law firm will be able to send out a spoliation letter to the parties involved so that the vehicle is preserved. The vehicle is the single most important piece of evidence in an auto defect case.