This is an excerpt from one of the recent episodes of 'Do I Need a Lawyer?' hosted by: Gary Martin Hays.
If you have a question you would like for me to answer, or if you would like to speak with me regarding a potential claim, please pick up the phone and give us a call right now.
The number is on the screen - and so is my email address - Gary@garymartinhays.com.
Now let's go to our question:
Hi Gary. I have a question involving my father. About a month ago, he was driving on the interstate on his way back from meetings in South Carolina. It was late and for some reason he lost control of his car and crashed into the retaining wall. He was severely injured and remains in ICU.
My concern is this: the airbags did not inflate when he hit the wall. Does my father have a product liability claim against the car manufacturer?
-Clinton in Alpharetta
Clinton - I am very sorry to hear about your Dad's accident and injuries.
Please know that he and your entire family - remain in our thoughts and prayers.
Honestly - I need to know more facts about the wreck and the car your dad was driving before I can give you an answer.
So let me address whether or not a potential automotive defect claim exists by giving you some factors we look for in our investigation:
(1) Are the injuries/damages severe enough to pursue a case against the car manufacturer?
This is an unfortunate reality. These cases are extremely expensive to investigate and pursue.
To fully evaluate the case, we may have to hire accident reconstructionsists, design engineers, life care planners, and other experts.
And taking on the automobile manufacturer is no easy task.
Unless there are serious catastrophic injuries or a death, the costs of pursuing the claim could greatly outweigh any potential recovery.
(2) Is the type of defect that caused the wreck or the injuries a common problem?
Some defects have been highly publicized in the media. Some examples are trucks that have the side saddle gas tanks that our outside the truck's frame that could explode on impact - or the car that would possibly explode because of the location of the gas tank in the rear of the car.
(3) How serious are the injuries in comparison to the wreck?
Some collisions are so severe - involving extremely high speeds and impacts - that there is no way anyone could survive and walk away from the crash without injuries.
However, if the driver or a passenger in the car is seriously injured as a result of a fender bender, then you should have an attorney evaluate the claim for a potential product liability case.
(4) Was the wreck caused by a defect in the car or a component part of the car?
An example of this would be a tire blowout or failure. We've seen cases where the tire tread separated from the body of the tire causing the driving of the vehicle to suddenly lose control and crash.
Other examples could be:
* Air bag inflating without warning while driving down the road
* Brake failure
* Losing Steering wheel control
(5) Was the driver or passenger injured because a safety feature in the vehicle did not work properly?
There have been many reports of catastrophic injuries and deaths because a seat belt failed to properly restrain the occupant of the vehicle.
Another example would be an airbag that was too powerful - the airbag deployed with such force it cause the injury instead of preventing it.
(6) Did the vehicle roll over causing the injuries?
We see these roll overs some times in sport utility vehicles - SUV's - that have a higher center of gravity. They can be susceptible to rolling over because of the high center of gravity combined with a narrow wheel base.
(7) Was the roof crushed in the wreck?
A vehicle that is properly designed should protect the occupants of the vehicle with a zone of protection. This zone should prevent the roof of the vehicle from crushing in and injuring the driver or passengers. Injuries in these roof crush cases typically involve neck or back fractures resulting in death or paralysis.
As you can see, the handling of a motor vehicle product liability case can be a challenging and expensive effort.
My recommendation to you is this.
If you, or a loved one has been seriously injured and you suspect the cause of their injuries may be due to a defect in their vehicle, please call us immediately to discuss your case.
You can't wait on these claims.
The vehicle needs to be properly secured and evaluated as soon as possible by experts to determine what went wrong.
If you would like to speak with me and my law firm about your claim, we make it easy for you.
The call is free and completely confidential and there is no obligation.
Just pick up the phone right now and give us a call at (770) 934-8000.
Our intake specialists are standing by right now to speak with you.