汽车缺陷诉讼:产品责任 & 机动车辆

汽车缺陷诉讼:产品责任 & 机动车辆

美国人依赖他们的汽车, 卡车, 通勤和享受的suv, 而是作为能够高速运转的大型机器, 机动车辆随时可能造成严重事故和伤害.

When vehicles or the components they contain are defective, these risks are substantially magnified.

在加州, victims have a right to bring personal injury lawsuits over damages caused by defective vehicles or vehicle components. 在这些案例中占优势, 然而, can be a difficult task that requires Plaintiffs to not only prove essential elements, but also take on sophisticated opponents that leverage extensive resources to defend themselves 和 their bottom lines.

为在 汽车事故与律师一起工作,他们可以评估一个 产品责任案件, 和 not merely a 疏忽 claim, can be invaluable when pursuing full compensation.

汽车缺陷索赔的例子

汽车制造商和汽车零部件制造商, 就像其他在美国生产和销售产品的公司一样.S., are subject to being sued for injuries or deaths caused by their products.

产品质量责任 汽车缺陷诉讼是不是已经变得越来越普遍了. 长期负债理论, procedural changes that allow evidence to be more easily obtained during discovery, 和 relaxed jurisdictional limitations which allow foreign or out-of-state automakers to be sued in local courts have also made these claims increasingly favorable to Plaintiffs.

如今,汽车缺陷诉讼可能涉及一系列指控和缺陷. 例子包括:

  • 轮胎有缺陷(爆胎、胎面分离等).)
  • 安全带和安全气囊缺陷
  • 汽车和SUV车顶坍塌/车顶压碎
  • 座椅设计有缺陷/座椅失效
  • 点火缺陷/意外加速
  • 车辆不稳定和越野车或亚视翻车
  • 防撞性不足
  • 有缺陷的操舵组件
  • 电力故障
  • 危险的修改(如经销商或第三方所做的)

汽车产品责任索赔的要素

类型的缺陷

汽车产品案件可指控:

  1. 设计缺陷,声称车辆或车辆部件是 缺乏地设计;
  2. 制造缺陷, which claim vehicles or parts were made unsafe during the manufacturing process; or
  3. 市场缺陷, which include failures to warn consumers about potential hazards or failures to provide adequate instructions.

声称设计缺陷 可列入:

  • 风险-效益测试, 哪个声称汽车制造商选择不纳入一个更安全的, cost-efficient alternative design that was available at the time of a vehicle’s production; or
  • 居民消费预期的测试, which clams that a product did not function as safely as an ordinary consumer would have expected it to perform when used – or misused - in an intended or reasonably foreseeable way.

理论的责任

Auto products cases in California may be based on theories of strict liability, 疏忽, 或违反保证(产品未能达到预期目的).

声明称 疏忽 可能涉及许多不同的情况,包括疏忽:

  • Automakers who fail to recall or retrofit a defective product they knew or should have known was dangerous or likely to be dangerous when used in a reasonably foreseeable manner (CACI国际公司没有. 1223).
  • 汽车制造商, 分销商, or retailers who fail to use reasonable care by not warning or instructing about a product’s dangerous condition or factors which made the product likely to be dangerous (CACI国际公司没有. 1222).
  • A rental car company that fails to exercise reasonable care to inspect vehicles for defects, 确保它们在预期使用中安全, 并充分警告消费者已知的危险(CACI国际公司没有. 1224).
  • 任何疏忽设计的公司, 制造, 提供, 修理, 租来的, 检查, (二)安装车辆或者汽车部件造成损害的, 其疏忽是造成伤害的一个重要因素(CACI国际公司没有. 1220).

在基于严格责任的索赔中,原告必须证明:

  1. The Defendant designed, 制造, distributed, or sold the vehicle or auto part;
  2. The vehicle / auto part was use as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable way;
  3. The vehicle / auto part was defective (due to a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect);
  4. 这一缺陷是原告受到伤害的一个重要原因.

Strict liability means that 制造rs can be held liable when unreasonably dangerous products cause harm. 然而, strict liability is not limited to 制造rs alone – it can impose liability on all parties involved in the chain of design, 制造, 分布, 或销售产品.

与许多产品索赔一样,汽车缺陷案件基于严格责任 必须建立一个充分的因果关系吗 在被告、产品和原告的伤害之间. 强化案件,获得对被告更大的筹码, Plaintiffs’ attorneys may also plead claims of 疏忽 in addition to a strict 产品质量责任 claim.

谁可对车辆的缺陷负责?

Because there are several different entities involved in the chain of production 和 分布 of motor vehicles, there are a number of parties that may potentially bear legal responsibility for damages caused by defective vehicles or vehicle components.

这些当事方可包括:

  • 汽车制造商/零部件制造商: Vehicle 制造rs have a legal duty to ensure products do not pose unreasonable dangers to consumers who use them as intended 和 within normal operating conditions. When defective vehicles result in preventable injuries, the 制造r(s) may be held liable. 在某些情况下, Plaintiffs may have a claim against the vehicle 制造r the 制造r of a defective part, unless the defective part was purchased separately. 如果更换的轮胎有缺陷, 例如, 汽车制造商不属于经销链的一部分, 并可能不承担责任.
  • 经销商: 参与销售的各方, 航运, 或者分销有缺陷的产品可以承担损害赔偿责任. A third party’s percentage of fault may vary depending on the circumstances, 和 may increase if their 疏忽 when storing or transporting vehicles was a substantial factor in causing a Plaintiffs’ harm (CACI国际公司1207 b).
  • 汽车经销商: 除了要对过失行为负责, auto dealerships may be strictly liable for damages suffered by consumers to whom they sold defective vehicles or auto parts. California courts have held that a dealership’s limited role in getting products from a franchisor to a consumer is sufficient to expose the dealer to strict liability for auto defects, 即使经销商没有从交易中获利(伊瓦拉五世. Todey汽车公司.).
  • 使用经销商: 即使车辆是二手的, 二手车经销商在某些情况下可能要承担损害赔偿责任. 然而, products cases involving used cars can be challenging given the difficulty of determining the origin of a defect in a used vehicle.
  • 零部件零售商和其他第三方: Companies that sell defective products can be liable for damages suffered by consumers, 任何维修店或第三方都可以, 由于性能或外观的原因, 改装车辆,使车辆更危险.

因为汽车制造商有雄厚的资金和内部法律顾问, 评估潜在产品声明的优点是很重要的, 以及起诉制造商的风险和成本效益. 有些因素可能会增加起诉制造商的必要性, 比如单车事故, 嗯/ UIM司机, 灾难性的伤害 or 非正常死亡负责,以及清楚的或高度关注的缺陷,这些缺陷留下了很少的其他选择.

耐撞性和汽车缺陷诉讼

Motor vehicles more often than not perform adequately when used as intended under optimal conditions. 然而,有些车辆在事故中可能无法保证乘员的安全.

碧仁法律集团, we carefully evaluate vehicles involved in car accidents to determine whether they were crashworthy, 和 whether defects in the design of the vehicle may have contributed to injuries that would not otherwise have occurred.

Examples of safety issues involving a vehicle’s crashworthiness may include:

  • 安全和约束系统(i.e. 安全气囊和安全带)不能正常工作, 或以增加受伤可能性的方式发挥作用;
  • Inadequate fire prevention or fuel system protections to avoid or contain explosions, 火灾, 和相关的伤害.
  • Inadequate crush control measures which fail to adequately prevent injuries caused by roof collapse, 其他危险.

支持这些说法需要广泛的调查, 对被告的证据进行细致的审查, 并与行业专家合作.

对汽车缺陷索赔的辩护

产品案的被告积极为自己辩护. 常见的辩护理由包括:

1. 原告/另一名司机疏忽

Automakers will often argue that the 疏忽 of a Plaintiff or another motorist caused the accident, 即使这种过失很小或不存在.

In these cases, evidence 和 carefully structured arguments may refute defenses. Attorneys may also argue that while a motorist may have caused or contributed to a crash, 他们没有造成原告的伤害, 至少, 没有造成全部伤害吗.

This argument typically focuses on a “first accident” – the collision between two vehicles or between a vehicle 和 object – 和 a “second accident” – the defective condition alleged to have been responsible for the severe injuries which would not have occurred had there been no defect.

Apportioning fault 和 liability in vehicle defect cases can be challenging 和 somewhat of a legal science, 但它可以消除比较过失防御的很大影响. Attorneys should be meticulous in anticipating how attributable fault to a Plaintiff, 另一个司机, 或者其他第三方可能影响损害赔偿的最终裁决, 结算可能. 在加州, fault attributable to third-party drivers only affects non-economic damages; an automaker found at fault to any degree is liable for the entirety of a Plaintiffs’ economic damages, 除了原告自身的过失, 如果有任何.

2. “最先进”的防御

在汽车缺陷案件中,被告可能会认为产品是 技术状况, 因此没有缺陷, simply because they adhere to the same st和ards used by other 制造rs or similar products, 和 / or the minimum st和ards required by law at the time it was sold – even if those st和ards are well below what is actually technologically feasible, 或被其他高端制造商使用.

而 Defendants making this affirmative defense may insist vehicles at question are low- to mid-range products for which advanced safety innovations are too expensive, 但情况并非总是如此. 制造商不能为了成本或竞争而牺牲安全, nor do they need to spend lavishly on features which do no nothing to keep consumers safe.

The state-of-the-art defense intersects with the concept of a “safer alternative design” inherent to the risk-benefit test. Plaintiffs’ attorneys can therefore work with relevant experts 和 industry insiders to prove claims that allege a safer alternative design was available 和 feasible at the time of production, 和 that incorporation of the best reasonably feasible technology could have made the product safer.

在某些情况下, refuting a state-of-the-art defense may require Plaintiffs’ counsel to explain to jurors that federal motor vehicle safety st和ards do not constitute 技术状况, but are rather the lowest possible st和ards implemented though a highly political process – one that is also very susceptible to influence from industry lobbyists. 让大家明白这一点, 有时还需要专家的帮助, can result in 制造rs being held liable even when they comply with st和ards.

It is worth nothing that the state-of-the-art defense may gain more interest as self-driving vehicles become more common on our roads. Because autonomous vehicle technology means 制造rs will take on more risk in terms of liability for crashes, 他们最大的利益可能是避免使用这种技术, 或者要求司机监控它的运行, 即使自动驾驶技术大大提高了安全性, 成熟到允许真正自主操作的程度.

3. 部件防御

Many auto defect claims involve alleged defects in a component of the vehicle that failed, 发生故障, 或者是受伤的潜在原因.

Although the California Supreme Court has ruled that there are “no meaningful distinctions" between component 制造rs 和 制造rs of complete products, many auto part 制造rs nonetheless attempt to evade strict 产品质量责任 by arguing that they 提供 a non-defective component, 没有参与设计或制造整车, 最终产品的制造商(i.e. a vehicle 制造r) is better positioned to ensure the safe 和 suitable use of components for their application. 这就是所谓的部件防御.

Component part 制造rs may not be required to be experts on products which incorporate their components, 但他们仍然要承担产品责任. Additionally, California courts have held that a component parts defense protects suppliers of 多用途产品 which undergo a process change to make a finished product (unless the supplier has some role in the process), 但产品的供应商没有 特定用途和用途 (奥尼尔v. 起重机有限公司.).

Defeating the component part defense will depend on the component in question, 是否在缺陷产品索赔中存在争议, 和 whether evidence exists to defeat any of the elements required for the defense to apply – such as proving:

  • 组件没有通过消费者预期测试;
  • 该部件包含造成伤害的制造缺陷;
  • 该组件包含在风险-收益测试下的设计缺陷; or
  • The part 制造r had a role in designing or manufacturing the finished product.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys who anticipate this defense can benefit from working to prove that the component itself – be it an airbag, 安全带, 轮胎, 或者其他部分是有缺陷的, that a 制造r knew or should have known their component would cause harm when used or incorporated as intended, 和 / or that the 制造r was in a position to warn about the risk of harm.

为南加州服务的汽车缺陷律师

Products liability claims involving defective motor vehicles 和 vehicle components can make for challenging litigation – both in subject matter, 和反对.

碧仁法律集团, our boutique practice is able to devote the necessary time 和 resources required of these cases, 和 has the network of professional connections to fully investigate these highly technical claims. If you have questions about an auto defect case anywhere in 洛杉矶 or the surrounding areas of Southern California, our attorneys are available to discuss your matter during a free 和 confidential consultation.

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