Seat belts are an important safety feature in passenger vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts save an estimated 15,000 lives each year. When seat belts are installed in cars, but are defective, they cannot offer this same level of protection. Car manufacturers can be liable for injuries caused by defective seatbelts.
Hyundai Issues Mass Recall Because of Defective Seat Belts
Last month, Hyundai issued a recall for more than 443,000 vehicles because of a potential seat belt defect. RecallMasters reports that the seat belts installed in select Hyundai Sonatas have a defect that may prohibit them from fastening safely. If seat belts in Hyundai vehicles are not functioning properly they cannot keep passengers safe. This could result in serious and life-threatening injuries. In some cases, a defective seat belt could also result in a passenger’s death.
Product Liability Lawsuits
Car manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure that the vehicles they put on the road are safe. When If anyone is injured because of the seat belt defect, Hyundai could be liable because they installed the defective product in their cars. Victims who are injured because of a defective product in Los Angeles can file a personal injury lawsuit against the company that designed, manufactured, and/or sold that product.
Product liability lawsuits are not like other personal injury lawsuits, because they are based on strict liability rather than negligence. This means that if you are injured because of a defective product you do not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent. You only have to prove that the product was defective and that you were harmed. There are three main types of product liability lawsuits that could be filed after a defective product is recalled.
The first is based on an injury caused by a manufacturing defect. A company can be liable for injuries caused by manufacturing defect when an item is not manufactured as it was designed or differs from other items manufactured at the same time. Manufacturing defects exist when there is a specific issue with the manufacturing process.
The second is based on an injury caused by a design defect. This means that the defect has nothing to do with how the product was built or constructed. Instead, the defect is because of the actual design of the product. A company has a duty to make sure that its products are designed in a way that will not harm users when used as intended.
Failure to Warn
A company can be liable for injuries caused by a defective product when that company fails to warn the consumer about potential risks and dangers involved with using that product. This is why so many products come with extensive instructions and warning labels.
The Hyundai seat belt recall is likely based on a manufacturing or design defect. The problem could be related to a manufacturing defect if the seat belt was not built according to its specifications. This could mean that the metal was not shaped or bent properly or that a component of the seat belt itself was omitted from the final product. The problem could be related to a design defect if the seat belt’s blueprints and specifications are inherently unsafe. This could mean that the design called for shoddy or cheap materials or did not calculate the proper angles and clasping mechanisms.
Will a Product Recall Limit a Company’s Liability For Defective Product Injuries?
Not necessarily. When a company issues a product recall they are not free from liability. If you are injured because of a defective product you have the right to file a civil product liability lawsuit against that product’s manufacturer. The fact that the company issued a recall does not take away that right. However, the fact that a recall is issued does not automatically mean that the company will be held liable in a civil lawsuit. A victim must still prove:
- They used a product that was designed, manufactured, or sold by the company as intended;
- The product contained a defect; and
- They were injured because of that defect.
The fact that a recall was issued can be used as evidence to prove that a defect existed, but a victim must still be able to prove that they were harmed by that defect.
Have you been injured by a product that was the subject of a recall? You may be entitled to damages for your injuries. Contact Los Angeles defective product attorney Joshua Glotzer today to learn about how he can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve. You have a limited amount of time to file a claim in Los Angeles, so it is important to act quickly.