Driver error is to blame for most motor vehicle accidents, but vehicle defects can also contribute to crashes or cause direct harm to occupants.
Recalls for faulty vehicles and defective vehicle parts are not always issued before innocent people are hurt or killed. If you believe a vehicle defect played a role in an accident or otherwise led to injuries, the Madison, Wisconsin, attorneys at Boller & Vaughan are here to help.
Please call us today at 608-268-0268 to schedule your free consultation, or tell us your story online to get started now.
Vehicle Defects and Product Liability
Vehicle manufacturers and dealers have an obligation to sell products that are free of defects and reasonably safe when operated responsibly. Product liability is an area of law that allows consumers to seek damages when a defective vehicle or faulty vehicle part causes harm.
Product liability cases related to motor vehicles generally fall into one of two categories:
- Defective vehicles or defective vehicle components: Manufacturing defects in the vehicle or its corresponding parts contribute to an unreasonably dangerous vehicle.
- Design flaws: Faults inherent in a vehicle’s design make it unreasonably dangerous, even when manufactured correctly.
Product liability cases involving motor vehicles can be especially complicated because multiple parties may be held accountable depending on the source of the defect, whether a recall had been issued, and whether defects related to a recall were repaired properly.
Common Vehicle Defects
Specific vehicle systems and components that are often cited in motor vehicle product liability claims include:
- Cruise control
- Door latches
- Fuel lines and gas tanks
Design flaws may relate to features that make a vehicle prone to rollover, cause doors to open while the vehicle is in motion, affect a vehicle frame’s ability to absorb impact, or create other hazards.
Vehicle Defects and Recalls
Since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was granted oversight of vehicle safety standards in 1966, the agency has initiated the recall of hundreds of millions of cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses and recreational vehicles due to safety-related defects.
In many cases, vehicle defects are caught before they cause harm. The manufacturer will issue a notice recalling the vehicle or the faulty equipment, and owners bring their vehicles to a dealership for repair or replacement.
In some states, manufacturers and dealerships are required to notify vehicle owners about recalls. But not every car owner gets a recall notice, and not every dealership manages related recalls effectively. Unfortunately, some recalls aren’t issued until the defects have led to injuries or deaths.
Wisconsin’s Lemon Law
Like other states, Wisconsin has a so-called “Lemon Law” intended to protect consumers from vehicle defects that affect the use, value or safety of a motor vehicle. The law describes “lemons” as motor-driven vehicles that were purchased by, leased by or transferred to a Wisconsin resident and:
- Are 1 year old or younger, and are still under warranty
- Have a serious defect a dealer can’t fix within four attempts
- Have one or more defects that prevent its use for at least 30 days of nonconsecutive driving
Vehicles purchased outside of the state are not covered under the law. If you’re involved in an accident that involves personal injury and a potentially defective vehicle under Wisconsin’s Lemon Law, it’s a good idea to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney. The Madison injury lawyers at Boller & Vaughan offer free consultations to help you understand your legal options.
Aggressive Representation for Wisconsin Injury Victims
Motor vehicle manufacturers sometimes deny defects exist, even when those flaws contribute to property damage, injuries and death.
With more than 40 years of experience, the attorneys at Boller & Vaughan are committed to providing aggressive, compassionate legal services to individuals and families suffering from personal injuries, including those that result from vehicle defects. We have the knowledge, resources and courtroom skills to stand up to dealerships and manufacturers on your behalf.
Call 608-268-0268 to schedule a free consultation, or tell us about the accident online to get started now. We welcome clients from the greater Madison area and across Wisconsin.