Dallas Auto Defect Lawyers
Defective Motor Vehicles & Vehicle Parts
Every year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues hundreds if not thousands of recalls due to safety issues and other auto defects. In many cases, auto manufacturers do not voluntarily recall defective vehicles, even when they know about the defects and the risk they pose to consumers. This means that many auto defects are unknown to the public until people have already been injured and lives have been lost.
Potts Law Firm believes that auto manufacturers and other responsible parties should be held accountable when they allow dangerous and defective vehicles onto our highways and roads. Even if an auto manufacturer recalls a vehicle, it could still be liable for accidents, injuries, deaths, and damages resulting from the defect. Our Dallas auto defect attorneys have extensive experience in product liability law, including claims under strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. We are aggressive advocates for our clients and, to date, have recovered more than $1 billion in compensation.
If you were injured or if your loved one was killed in an accident, and you believe an auto defect may be to blame, reach out to our firm right away to learn how we can help. We offer free consultations in person at our Dallas office or by phone for your convenience.
Call (214) 238-8572 or contact us online to get started. Hablamos español.
On This Page:
- What Is an Auto Defect?
- Examples of Common Auto Defects
- What to Do If You Were Injured by a Defective Vehicle
- How to Tell If Your Car Has Been Recalled
- Establishing Auto Defect Liability
- How Potts Law Firm’s Auto Defect Lawyers Can Help
What Is an Auto Defect?
An auto defect occurs when a vehicle or vehicle part is not properly designed, constructed, or installed. In many instances, this can significantly jeopardize the safety of the vehicle’s occupants, as well as others on the road.
Like other types of consumer products, vehicles and vehicle parts may contain one or more of the following three types of defects:
- Defective design: Design defects are inherent flaws in the vehicle's design that make it unsafe or unreliable. These defects are present in all vehicles of a particular design and can result in widespread recalls. Some examples of design defects include poor handling, a high center of gravity in SUVs leading to rollovers, or inadequate crash protection.
- Defective manufacturing: Manufacturing defects occur during the assembly or production process and affect individual vehicles or a small batch of vehicles. These defects can include issues like improperly installed airbags, faulty brake systems, or substandard welding that may lead to structural weaknesses.
- Defective labeling/marketing: Defective labeling and marketing refer to the failure to provide adequate warnings, instructions, or information to consumers regarding the safe use and maintenance of the vehicle. This can include incorrect labeling of vehicle capabilities or safety features, inadequate safety warnings, or false advertising claims.
A vehicle with a defective design may put the occupants at serious risk of injury or death in the event of a crash. Defectively manufactured vehicles may be missing key components that could increase the likelihood of a crash. In the automotive industry, defective labeling or marketing may include things like misleading or fraudulent advertising or missing safety warnings on front-seat airbags.
Examples of Common Auto Defects
While a vehicle itself may have a defective design, any component of the vehicle may also be defective. Some vehicle elements are more commonly the subject of product liability litigation, including mass torts and class action lawsuits against auto manufacturers.
Some examples of common auto defects include:
- Top-Heavy Design: A top-heavy design can make a vehicle more prone to rollovers, especially when taking sharp turns or during emergency maneuvers.
- Unsound Structure: An unsound vehicle structure can result in weak door and roof support, which can lead to door and roof crushes during accidents, compromising passenger safety.
- Defective Tires: Defective tires can blow out or shred while driving, leading to loss of control and potentially causing accidents. This defect can be due to issues with the tire's construction, materials, or manufacturing.
- Improperly Installed Airbags and Seatbelts: Airbags and seatbelts that are improperly installed may not provide the expected safety benefits. For example, seatbelts that fail to "lock" properly when the brakes are applied can pose a significant risk in a collision.
- Defective Airbags: Airbags can malfunction in various ways, such as exploding and shooting out shrapnel, deploying unexpectedly or too late, or failing to deploy at all in a collision. These defects can result in serious injuries to vehicle occupants.
- Malfunctioning Brakes: Brakes that lock up or fail when applied can lead to accidents, as they can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle and result in collisions.
- Poorly Designed Fuel Systems: Poorly designed fuel systems can lead to car fires and explosions in the event of a crash. Leaking fuel can ignite and pose a severe danger to occupants.
- Faulty Steering Systems: Faulty steering systems can lead to a loss of control over the vehicle, making it difficult for the driver to steer and navigate safely.
- Defective Engine Components: Defective engine components, such as transmissions, can lead to unreliable vehicle performance and may cause sudden breakdowns or accidents on the road.
- Door Latch Failures: When door latches fail, car doors can open unexpectedly while the vehicle is in motion, posing a serious safety risk to both the occupants and other road users.
These and other auto defects put drivers and passengers at serious risk. If you believe that your accident was the result of an auto defect, reach out to the team at Potts Law Firm today to learn how we can help you fight for fair compensation.
What to Do If You Were Injured by a Defective Vehicle
If you were involved in a crash or otherwise injured due to an auto defect, there are certain things you should do to protect yourself, your rights, and your recovery. To the best of your ability, you should take the following steps:
- Seek immediate medical attention. Whether you were injured in a crash or otherwise harmed by an auto defect, you should see a medical professional right away.
- If necessary, call 911 and inform law enforcement about what happened. If you were injured in an accident, you must report it to the police.
- Document the incident/defect as best as you can by taking pictures and writing down everything you can remember and/or observe.
- Preserve all evidence from the crash/incident. If possible, avoid having your car repaired until after you have spoken to a lawyer.
- Look up your vehicle on the NHTSA’s website to determine if a recall has been issued. Remember, a recall does not absolve the manufacturer of liability and, even if there is no recall, you could still have a case.
- Contact an attorney with experience in auto defect litigation. Even if you are unsure whether what happened was the result of a defect, it is important to talk to a lawyer.
The sooner you get in touch with our Dallas auto defect lawyers, the better. We move swiftly when it comes to these cases, taking immediate action and managing media on behalf of our clients. Our team utilizes cutting-edge technology and innovative legal strategies to prove claims and demonstrate the full extent of our clients’ damages. We aggressively seek maximum compensation and are not afraid of taking cases to trial whenever necessary.
How to Tell If Your Car Has Been Recalled
It is important that you know about any recalls affecting your vehicle. If your car has been recalled, you should take it in to be fixed right away.
Determining if your car has been recalled is an important step in ensuring your vehicle's safety. You can check for recalls using the following methods:
- Check Your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): You can determine whether your vehicle has any recalls on the NHTSA’s website, here. You will need to know your car’s 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN). The VIN is located on your vehicle’s windshield on the lower section of the driver’s side. It is also located on your car’s registration card.
- Visit the Manufacturer's Website: Many car manufacturers have recall lookup tools on their official websites. You can search for recalls by entering your VIN or, in some cases, your make and model. Check your vehicle manufacturer's official website for this feature.
- Contact Your Dealership: You can also contact your local dealership for information on recalls related to your specific vehicle. They can verify if your car has any outstanding recalls and provide guidance on how to address them.
- Sign Up for Recall Alerts: To stay proactive about recalls, you can sign up for recall alerts with the NHTSA or the manufacturer. They often offer email or mobile notifications, so you'll be informed as soon as a recall is issued for your vehicle.
- Use Third-Party Websites and Apps: Several third-party websites and mobile apps provide recall information. These platforms may require you to enter your vehicle's make, model, and year, or your VIN, and will provide you with a list of recalls, if any are applicable to your car.
It's essential to check for recalls regularly, as they can involve critical safety issues that may put you and other road users at risk. If you find that your vehicle is subject to a recall, follow the manufacturer's instructions to have the issue addressed. Typically, repairs related to recalls are performed free of charge by authorized dealerships. Neglecting recalls can compromise your safety, so it's crucial to take prompt action to address any identified issues.
Call (214) 238-8572 or reach us online using our secure contact form. You do not pay any attorney fees unless/until we win your case.
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Proving auto defects and establishing auto defect liability can be complex processes that require careful investigation, expert analysis, and legal expertise. However, these steps are essential for holding responsible parties accountable and obtaining compensation for the damages caused by auto defects.
- Gathering Evidence: The first step in proving an auto defect is to gather substantial evidence. This can include photographs or videos of the accident scene, damaged vehicles, and injuries sustained. Eyewitness testimonies, police reports, and any available surveillance footage can also be valuable in establishing the sequence of events and the potential role of a defect.
- Expert Analysis: Engaging the services of experts in automotive engineering, accident reconstruction, and product liability is crucial in establishing auto defect cases. These professionals can thoroughly examine the vehicle, its components, and the accident circumstances to determine if a defect contributed to the accident or exacerbated the resulting injuries. Their expert opinions and reports are often crucial in supporting the claim.
- Product Testing and Documentation: If an auto defect is suspected, it is essential to preserve the vehicle and its components as evidence. This can involve documenting the condition of the vehicle, conducting thorough inspections, and, if necessary, arranging for independent testing of the defective part. The results of these tests can provide substantial proof of the defect and its impact on the accident.
- Manufacturer Negligence: To establish liability, it is important to demonstrate that the auto defect resulted from the manufacturer's negligence or failure to meet safety standards. This can involve investigating the manufacturing process, quality control measures, and any prior knowledge of defects or recalls. It may be necessary to review internal documents, communications, and recall history to establish a pattern of negligence or non-compliance.
- Legal Support: Seeking legal representation from experienced product liability attorneys is crucial in navigating the complexities of proving auto defects and establishing liability. These professionals have the knowledge and expertise to build a strong case, gather evidence, engage experts, and negotiate with the responsible parties or their insurance companies. They can guide individuals through the legal process and ensure their rights are protected.
It's important to note that the specific steps and requirements for establishing liability may vary based on jurisdiction and the circumstances of each case. Therefore, consulting with legal professionals who specialize in product liability law is essential to navigate the complexities of the legal process and increase the chances of a successful outcome.
Commercial Property Dispute $645,000
Potts Law Firm attorneys negotiated a settlement on behalf of a client whose land was taken by a private power line company. The company’s original offer of $430,000 failed to consider the decrease in aesthetic value that the scenic ranch in the Texas Hill Country would incur from the power line installation.
Surgical Negligence $600,000
Potts Law Firm secured a $600,000 settlement for a young woman who was a victim of New Mexico medical malpractice. The woman underwent gallbladder removal surgery; the most common operation in America. The surgeon negligently performed the procedure, allowing bile to spill within the woman’s abdominal cavity before closing her incision.
Wrongful Death of Employee $6.35 Million
Potts Law Firm served as lead counsel for the family of a man who was killed while on the job due to a product failure. After a short time in litigation, Potts Law Firm was able to settle the case and also received a voluntary worldwide recall of the product; ensuring no one else would suffer injuries or death resulting from the failed product in the future.
East Texas Residential Property $454,000
Potts Law Firm attorneys negotiated on behalf of a residential property owner whose East Texas land was taken by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) to make way for new road construction. TxDOT's original offer of $31,343 did not consider damages that the remaining land would incur from the new road build.
Seat Back Failure Seven-Figure Settlement
Potts Law Firm secured a confidential seven-figure settlement against an automobile manufacturer when the client’s vehicle was struck by another vehicle causing the driver’s seat to collapse backward allowing the client to be thrown into the back seat where she received spinal cord injuries, rendering her a quadriplegic.
Surgical Negligence Confidential Settlement
Potts Law Firm achieved a settlement for a medical malpractice case on behalf of a minor injured during surgery in Kansas.
Defective Airbag Seven-Figure Settlement
Potts Law Firm secured a confidential seven-figure settlement against an automobile manufacturer for the clients when their nine-year-old daughter was killed by the passenger side airbag in this low-energy collision.
Foot Injury $750,000
Potts Law Firm secured a $750,000 settlement for an oil rig worker whose foot was severely injured after being caught in rig tongs. The oil rig company had failed to properly tag out and lock out the tongs after a power outage. When the power returned to the rig, the tongs closed on the worker’s foot, crushing his bones.
Residential Property Roof Damage Substantial Settlement
Partner Andrew A. Woellner was privileged to represent another attorney in his fight against an underpaying insurance carrier. When his home was damaged by hail in Dallas, Texas, the insurance carrier told him that only 3 roof tiles were damaged, and the repair did not exceed the deductible.
Commercial Property Dispute $713,000
Potts Law Firm attorneys negotiated on behalf of a commercial property owner whose land was taken by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) to make way for new road construction. TxDOT's original offer of $466,396 did not consider other reasonable comparable sales in the area.