If you have been injured in an auto accident because of a manufacturing defect, the task of proving liability is much different than in other personal injury claims. A Morgantown personal injury attorney can help assess your case.
Proving liability for a personal injury claim usually involves demonstrating that the other party’s carelessness or negligence caused the accident; however, liability rules regarding injuries sustained because of a manufacturing flaw or defect are different because as a consumer, you can’t be expected to perform your own safety checks on a product prior to use.
Because it would be difficult and expensive for an individual to prove a car manufacturer was negligent in the making of the vehicle, “strict liability” is a way for a consumer to prove a manufacturer is at fault in order to receive compensation for injuries. Strict liability doesn’t require the plaintiff to prove the manufacturer was negligent.
3 Rules of Strict Liability
In order to make a personal injury claim against a car manufacturer using strict liability, you must be able to meet all of the following conditions:
- You were injured because the car had an unreasonably dangerous defect that existed because of the design of the vehicle, during the car’s manufacturing process, or due to shipping or handling of the vehicle.
- Your injuries were caused while you were operating the vehicle in a proper fashion.
- When you purchased the vehicle, there were no substantial changes made to it that would affect how it performed.
Compensatory & Punitive Damages
Using the statute of strict liability, you may seek compensation for your medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, and so on. Punitive damages, which are meant to punish the manufacturer, may also be awarded.
For instance, the vehicle maker may have performed a “cost-benefit analysis,” where the cost of altering the design of a defective automobile is compared to the potential cost of settling lawsuits for personal injuries. The manufacturer may have elected to keep a dangerous vehicle on the road because the costs of litigation would be less than the cost to fix the defect, as was the case for the infamous Ford Pinto.
Consulting with a Morgantown Personal Injury Attorney
Based in Clarksburg, The Miley Legal Group serves its clients in West Virginia in various practice areas including personal injury claims for car accidents and defective products. Their team of lawyers will walk you through the legal process and give frank and honest advice on how you should proceed with your case. Miley Legal will also provide counseling services to help you through this difficult time. For a free copy of The 7 Biggest Mistakes that Can Wreck Your West Virginia Car Accident Claim or to schedule a consultation, call 1-304-326-1800.