There have been recent reports of problems with carbon monoxide seeping into the cabins of car models of a leading SUV brand. Some drivers have been negatively affected by inhaling the carbon monoxide and passing out while they are driving. In one report, the manufacturer attributed the leaks of carbon monoxide into the cabin to aftermarket alterations to the cars. This may have some drivers asking what effect aftermarket modifications to a car can have on a product liability claim against a car manufacturer.
Some people chose to modify or repair their cars using parts that are not manufacturer made, and are instead made by another company. If these parts are made in an inferior manner and cause a defect in the car, the car owner has a claim against the company that made the parts. However, any possible claims against the car manufacturer will not be as easy to prove as most other product liability cases.
Generally, product liability cases, which would include defective car parts cases, are considered strict liability cases. This means that if the product is defective because of the way it operates or the way it was designed, and someone got injured, then the manufacturer is liable for damages. If the injured person can show that the car left the manufacturer’s possession in the defective state, he can recover damages.
The manufacturer or other named defendant in a products liability claim can use the modifications or the use of aftermarket parts as a defense to the products liability lawsuit. The manufacturer may be able to avoid liability to the extent that the modifications or aftermarket parts are deemed to have been a contributing factor to the accident. Modifications and alterations provide an affirmative defense for the manufacturer because they interfere with the injured person’s ability to prove that the product left the manufacturer in a defective state.
A person who gets into a car accident because of a defect in his car can file both a personal injury case against the negligent driver who caused the accident, and the car manufacturer for the defect in the car. Even if the defect was in the car that was driven by the negligent driver, the injured driver can still seek compensation from the manufacturer. For example, driver A gets into a car accident because a negligent driver ran a red light. Because driver A’s car has faulty airbags, driver A gets seriously injured. Driver A can seek compensation from the manufacturer. Similarly, if a driver drives into the wrong lane of traffic because he passed out due to fumes entering the vehicle cabin and causes an accident with driver B, both drivers may have product liability cases against the manufacturer.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
If you sustained serious injuries in a Florida car accident because of both a defective car part and a negligent driver, you may be able to seek compensation from multiple parties. Consult with an experienced car accident attorney to learn more about how you can seek compensation. For a free consultation, contact an experienced car accident injury lawyer at Vocelle & Berg, LLP, in Vero Beach, Florida.