Automobile reliability is of prime importance. A reliable car ensures that you and your passengers stay safe while on the road. But accidents still happen. Many of these unfortunate circumstances occur because of vehicle operator negligence, while others take place as a result of automobile defects. When a car has a defect, this could either be due to a design or a manufacturing problem. A car owner who gets into an accident because of either design or manufacturing defects can sue the company who made the car. These cases are often classified as personal injury, wherein a victim can choose to take legal action with the help of expert attorneys.
Design versus Manufacturing Defects
A design defect occurs when an automobile’s plan or design has flaws that make the vehicle unsafe. Such defects are also known as planned defects. Oftentimes, cars that are made following a faulty design will all be defective. As for a manufacturing defect, this occurs when the process of forming or shaping automobiles is imperfect. These are unplanned defects and not all cars that are made will be defective or faulty. In other words, manufacturing defects are due to errors or blunders during the process of creating automobiles, while design defects are because of flaws in the plan or design.
Common Design and Manufacturing Problems
1. Inferior Seatbelts
An inferior seatbelt is one that does not work or does not appropriately restrain a driver or passenger during a car accident. When this occurs, victims can suffer more serious injuries. Injured parties have every right to sue a car manufacturer and file a product liability claim. As for seatbelts, the safest to use these days are those with a “lock for latch” design. This is more reliable than seatbelts that have buckle designs.
2. Substandard Airbags
Like the seatbelt, airbags are safety equipment. These protect drivers and passengers from the brunt of car crashes. Airbags have usually been installed in front of the driver in the area where the steering wheel is. Now, there are seat- and door-mounted airbags as well. These automatically inflate during collisions to shield a driver and his passengers from serious head or body trauma. Airbags supplement the protection provided by seatbelts.
Generally, airbags are only deployed once. Though these are safety tools, there are issues regarding efficiency. For instance, there is a problem with design or manufacturing when an airbag fails to deploy during a car crash. There are also airbags that may deploy; however, these do not provide ample protection to passengers. Another issue with airbags is that there are some that deploy too forcefully. This can harm drivers and passengers, and younger or smaller kids often sustain more serious injuries.
3. Faulty Tires
It is very important for automobile tires to be well-maintained and to be reliable. A large percentage of road traffic accidents occur because of cars or trucks with faulty tires. There are several things that make a car tire defective. There could be a problem with tire treads or tread separation, as well as tire bead failures and debeading, wherein the entire rubber portion of a car tire parts from its rim. In some cases, a car’s tire may be faultless, but the problem is with mounting or inflation.
4. Vulnerable to Vehicle Rollovers
Car designers should always consider how a car would move in case of a collision. Some cars have a high tendency towards rolling over during impact, and this is a design flaw. There are also automobile designs that make a car weaker in terms of its structural integrity. When this is the case, a vehicle could collapse during impact.
- Photo courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
The article is by Claire Waltham, who regularly blogs about personal injury topics. She writes for a Los Angeles car accident lawyer and other respected law firms.