Injured from Manufacturer Car Defects? Now What?
In 2014, the Orange County District's Attorney filed a complaint alleging that "GM endangered the public through deception regarding vehicle safety and reliability and gained advantage over its competitors by engaging in unfair business practices" by selling car models with known car defects in Southern California.
These individuals were injured from manufacturing car defects, and unfortunately it happens more than we think.
Here's what to do if you or a loved one is injured from a defective car from manufacturers.
Manufacturer Car Defects: General Motors vs. Orange County District Attorney
The OCDA claims that "at least 124 people died and 275 were injured, as a result of these failures".
The OCDA filed a Complaint for Violations of the Unfair Competition Law and the False Advertising Law, claiming that General Motors endangered all motorists by selling products while intentionally concealing safety defects of these products in order to avoid paying for a recall or replacement of defective car parts.
So, what happened?
General Motors was required to pay $13.9 million in settlements.
Looking at the Settlement
When you examine the settlement between General Motors and the OCDA, the latter was claiming that there were concealed defects in millions of the auto maker’s vehicles.
These included problems with
- Power steering
The OCDA claimed that GM’s hiding of these defects and marketing its autos as reliable and safe caused customers to make purchases under false pretenses.
Why Does Vehicle Safety Matter to You?
In 2017, there were a total of 35,391,347 cars that were registered in the state of California.
That's a lot of cars.
If majority of car manufacturers were producing defects, many people would be injured unnecessarily due to negligence.
What To Do When Denied
Once again, the claims process is incredibly complex for motor vehicle accident lawsuits. Even if an injury claim has been denied, that may not necessarily be the final word.
Many reasons given to justify a denial of a claim may be surrounded with a gray area.
If you own a motor vehicle in Santa Ana or elsewhere in Orange County, you want to believe that it’s safe.
Every time that you operate a vehicle on the road, you’re putting your life at risk. Therefore, your vehicle’s safety is paramount.
That’s why you buckle your seatbelt and get regular tire checks and safety inspections. As a consumer, you also want to presume that any defects to your vehicle that become apparent to the maker will be communicated to you.
The purpose of recalls from vehicle manufacturers is that owners like you can return your vehicle and get a replacement part. If the vehicle is not fixable, you would hope to receive compensation for its loss.
Why Would GM Do This?
If you dig deeper into the operations of any brand, there will always be cost-benefit analyses that guide management decisions.
For example, in the case of a vehicle recall, the manufacturer will be worried about the effects of car defects (and related negative publicity) on its business model and its bottom line.
The OCDA claimed that GM placed more value on cost-cutting than safety. Presumably, GM sought to avoid negative attention from a recall. However, when any type of decision similar to what the OCDA implied here takes place, then the company exposes itself to the after-effects.
In this example, there are many potential legal liabilities when people are hurt or killed.
In this case, the District Attorney, Rackauckas represented victims who were injured and killed and who were GM vehicle owners or lessees. It is unfortunate that these victims and their families suffered various degrees of property damage and economic damage.
The may also have experienced pain and suffering and loss of income (from permanently disabled or deceased victims).
Vehicle owners may also have found themselves unable to sell or trade in the affected vehicle after the accident occurred.
What Can We Learn About This Case for Future Product Liability Claims?
When you or someone in your immediate family is injured or killed in a car accident, you want aggressive representation. A qualified attorney will work with his or her legal team to investigate all the facts in your case.
In any motor vehicle accident, there’s the potential that a product liability issue contributed to the event. The cause could have been a defect in your vehicle or in another vehicle involved in the accident.
Aggressive representation will include talking to investigators from insurance companies and from law enforcement agencies. An attorney may also need to hire outside experts such as accident reconstructionists and vehicle safety engineers.
Any product liability case calls for substantial proof because the auto manufacturers typically have greater financial resources at their disposal and can easily defend your potential claim.
Due to the expenses of litigation, few wrongful death lawsuits are tried before a jury. Having a skilled team of wrongful death lawyers who are capable of negotiating helps to avert costly and often emotionally painful trials.
Still, you must be prepared in case negotiations fail. Make sure your legal team has a proven track record of both pre-litigation settlements as well as success at trial.
Get to know the safety of your current vehicles and check manufacturer websites for any car defects or recalls that affect them! For immediate assistance with motor vehicle and product liability lawsuits, please contact us today.