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When Car Crashes Occur Because of Vehicle Defect

Posted on in Car Accidents

Wisonsin personal injury attorney, Wisonsin car crash lawyer, Milwaukee car crash attorneyWhen looking to assign fault in a traffic accident, most people focus on the two drivers involved. Yet, they are not the only people with control over the situation. There are times when the crash happened because of a mistake made by the car's manufacturer or designer - resulting in a vehicle defect - rather than by either of the drivers who were in the crash. From this standpoint, there are three major mistakes by a car company that can cause an accident: manufacturing defects, design defects, and failure to warn or properly instruct consumers about the danger.

Manufacturing Defects

One possible way that a car company could be at fault for a crash is if there was a manufacturing defect. A manufacturing defect occurs when the car is properly designed and should be safe, but there is an error in how it is put together. For instance, if a car is assembled at the factory in such a way that the brake pads are likely to fall off, that would be a manufacturing defect. In order to recover for a manufacturing defect, a victim must show five things:

  • That the product “departs from its intended design”;
  • That it was unreasonably dangerous;
  • That the defect was what caused the plaintiff's injuries;
  • That the seller of the product was actually in the business of selling the cars as a routine matter; and
  • That the seller should have expected the car to get to the consumer in the same condition that they sold it.

Design Defects

Another common issue with cars is a defect in the design phase. Here the problem is that there was something inherently unsafe about the way that the designer wanted to put the car together. For example, imagine a car that has a mechanical part that repeatedly pinches the brake line, making it likely to break without warning. That would be a design defect. The plaintiff must show a similar set of things as in the manufacturing defect case, with one change. The Wisconsin Omnibus Tort Reform Act clarifies that rather than departing from its intended design, a design defect happens when there was a reasonable alternative design that could have mitigated a foreseeable risk.

Failure to Warn

The final problem is one of failure to warn. This occurs less with cars, but it can happen with other motor vehicles like ATVs or boats. If a manufacturer fails to instruct a user in the safe use of the vehicle, and that renders the product unreasonably dangerous, then the user may have a claim for failure to warn.

Traffic accident victims should be aware of all of the possible causes of their accident. If you have been involved in an accident, contact an experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorney today to ensure that all possible avenues of recovery are identified.
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