MARCH 28, 2016:
As a Personal Injury Lawyer in Miami that helps those injured in car accidents, the typical third party that is the subject of a lawsuit is the driver of the other vehicle. However, in a very small percentage of accidents, a person’s own vehicle manufacturer may hold some or all responsibility for the incident. For example, if a person is rear-ended at a high rate of speed and the airbags fail to deploy, then the driver and passengers of that vehicle may have an action against the manufacturer of the vehicle, such as Toyota or Ford.
In fact, just recently Honda and Acura released a major vehicle recall for certain models related to airbags. Though, the airbag recall has virtually nothing to do with the failure to deploy, but involves rupture of the airbag inflator. In the event of a crash requiring deployment of the driver’s frontal airbag, the inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking the driver or other passengers resulting in serious injury or even death. Yet, the parts needed to remedy this defect will not be made available to vehicle owners until Fall 2016, so Honda and Acura simply sent out Safety Recall letters advising of the issue.
Consequently, should a person be involved in a car accident while driving one of the recalled vehicles and get seriously injured, then undoubtedly personal injury attorneys will be summoned to investigate the possibility of a lawsuit. At that juncture, it will invariably be too late in that the accident and injury has already occurred and the only option remaining is to seek monetary damages. Thus, Florida has strict requirements for proving a negligence case against an automobile manufacturer for products liability.
In City of St. Petersburg v. Total Containment, Inc., the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida held that certain elements must be established by a plaintiff before prevailing in such an action. Specifically, the car accident lawyer handling the personal injury of his or her client must prove the following: (1) a relationship between the defendant and the product; (2) a defect which caused the product to be unreasonably dangerous; and (3) causation between the defect and the harm suffered by the driver or passenger of the vehicle. Without successfully presenting evidence supporting each and every element of this products liability action, a plaintiff will be unable to recover damages for injuries sustained in an auto accident due to their vehicle manufacturer’s negligence.
For any personal injury lawyer practicing in the State of Florida, establishing negligence typically requires proof of (1) Duty; (2) Breach; (3) Causation; and (4) Damages. However, that burden and requirements change slightly when the defendant is an automobile manufacturer and the cause of action is Products Liability.
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