Automotive Products Liability in New York
When it comes to automotive products, the safety and reliability they provide are paramount for our protection on the roads of New York. Unfortunately, defects or malfunctions in these products can have devastating consequences, leading to severe accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. If you or a loved one has experienced harm as a result of a defective automotive product, it is crucial to be aware of your legal rights and the potential to pursue a products liability claim. At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, our highly skilled team of New York products liability lawyers understands the impact that defective automotive products can have on individuals and families. We are dedicated to advocating for victims of such incidents and helping them navigate the complex legal process to seek justice and obtain the compensation they rightfully deserve.Understanding Automotive Products Liability
Automotive products liability refers to the legal responsibility of manufacturers, distributors, and sellers for injuries or damages caused by defective automotive products. When a defect in an automotive product leads to an accident or injury, the injured party may be entitled to compensation through a products liability claim.Product Defects
There are three primary types of defects that can give rise to an automotive products liability claim:
- Design Defects: These defects occur when there is an inherent flaw in the design of the automotive product, making it unreasonably dangerous even when manufactured correctly. Design defects affect all units of a particular product and may lead to accidents, injuries, or fatalities. An example of a design defect is a faulty airbag system that fails to deploy properly upon impact. Another example would be a flawed braking system.
- Manufacturing Defects: Manufacturing defects occur during the production or assembly process, resulting in a specific unit or batch of products being different from the intended design. Manufacturing defects can range from faulty components to improper assembly, rendering the product unsafe for its intended use.
- Marketing Defects: Also known as "failure to warn" defects, marketing defects involve inadequate instructions, warnings, or labels that fail to provide users with sufficient information about the product's risks and proper usage. Failure to warn defects can lead to accidents or injuries when users are not adequately informed of potential dangers.
In New York, automotive products liability claims are typically pursued under two legal theories: strict liability and negligence. Under strict liability, a plaintiff does not need to prove negligence on the part of the manufacturer or seller. Instead, they must demonstrate that the product was defective and that the defect caused their injuries or damages. Strict liability holds manufacturers and sellers accountable for placing defective products in the stream of commerce.
Negligence claims require the plaintiff to prove that the defendant breached a duty of care, resulting in the defective product causing harm. This duty of care includes designing, manufacturing, and selling safe products, as well as providing adequate warnings and instructions. Negligence claims may involve demonstrating that the defendant's actions or omissions fell below the accepted standards of care.Types of Automotive Products Liability Claims
Automotive products liability claims can arise from various defective products, including:
Vehicle Defects: These claims involve defects in the design or manufacturing of the vehicle itself, such as faulty brakes, defective airbags, steering system failures, or rollover-prone designs. For example, in Denny v. Ford Motor Co., 959 F. Supp. 2d 262 (N.D.N.Y. 2013), plaintiff Nancy Denny was injured when she swerved to avoid hitting a deer on the road. The Bronco she was driving rolled over. Plaintiff argued that the Bronco was defective in design due to its propensity to roll over.
Component Defects: Component defects focus on defective parts or components within a vehicle, such as defective tires, malfunctioning seat belts, or faulty ignition switches.
Aftermarket Products: Claims related to aftermarket products include defects in products installed or modified after the vehicle's original sale, such as defective aftermarket brakes, exhaust systems, or suspension components.
Child Safety Restraints: Claims involving defective child safety restraints, such as car seats or booster seats, fall under this category.Taking Legal Action
If you have been seriously injured in accident that was caused by a defective automotive product, it is crucial to take certain steps to protect your rights. It’s important to keep records of all expenses and losses incurred as a result of the accident, such as medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost wages, and any other financial impacts. Such records will serve as proof of the injuries you sustained as well as evidence of the financial and non-financial losses you suffered.
Additionally, it is advisable to gather any available documentation pertaining to the accident and the defective product. This may include photographs of the accident scene, damaged vehicles, or the faulty component itself. Eyewitness accounts and expert opinions, if accessible, can also contribute to supporting your case. Promptly reporting the incident to the relevant authorities, such as the police or consumer safety organizations, is crucial. This ensures that an official record is created and may aid in investigations concerning the safety issues related to the defective product.
By taking these necessary steps, you can safeguard your rights and establish a foundation for pursuing appropriate actions to seek compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, financial losses, and other relevant damages. It is also critical that you immediately consult with a knowledgeable products liability attorney in New York who can assess the specifics of your case, advise you on your legal rights, and guide you through the claims process.Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective automotive product in New York, don't wait to seek legal guidance. You may be entitled to compensation for your losses including medical bills and lost wages as well as non-financial losses. When it comes to personal injury claims, time is of the essence. Do not delay. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates to schedule a consultation with our dedicated team of product liability attorneys serving New York. We will provide you with personalized attention, compassionate support, and tenacious representation to help you navigate the legal complexities and pursue the justice you deserve. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, Nassau County, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Bronx, and Westchester County.