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Auto Manufacturer Liability Attorney Fort Wayne

Injured From an Automobile Malfunction?

Each year, thousands of people are injured by defective automobiles. The federal government keeps a list of the latest auto recalls, but many people are injured before a manufacturer realizes there is a problem with its product.

If you have been injured by a defective automobile, you might be able to sue the manufacturer for compensation. Indiana’s Product Liability Act lets users and consumers bring lawsuits for any physical harm they have suffered, and many of our clients have relied on the law to obtain money for their injuries.

Defective Automobile Injuries

Defective automobiles can be extremely dangerous. While the list of potential and historical auto defects is long, some of the most common defects include:

  • Defective steering components;
  • Faulty ignition devices;
  • Defective airbags;
  • Defective tires;
  • Faulty brakes;
  • Seat belt defects;
  • Vehicle design defects (i.e. a vehicle being top-heavy);
  • Safety glass/windshield defects;
  • Acceleration defects;
  • Vehicle computer defects; and
  • More.

When an automobile is defective and malfunctions, the risk of an accident–or serious injuries should an accident occur–is increased. Those who are involved in crashes caused by defective autos may suffer:

  • Burns;
  • Cuts or lacerations;
  • Facial disfigurement;
  • Nerve damage;
  • Blindness;
  • Head injuries;
  • Bone fractures;
  • Traumatic brain injuries;
  • Spinal cord injuries;
  • Soft tissue injuries; and
  • Paralysis.

The emotional effects of an accident are just as serious as the physical ones, even if they are largely invisible. Emotional distress can include:

  • Depression;
  • Anxiety;
  • Embarrassment;
  • Irritability; and
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.

Helpfully, Indiana’s Product Liability Act allows consumers and users to sue for compensation to cover the losses associated with bodily injuries and property damage. This means you can get reimbursed for your medical expenses, including trips to the doctor and meetings with a therapist. Our clients have also received compensation to make up for lost wages and for pain and suffering.

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What You Need to Prove

Indiana’s law lays out the elements that a victim needs to establish to bring a successful products liability action. Foremost among them is the need to prove that the product (automobile) is “defective,” which means:

  • The automobile is not in a condition that a reasonable person would expect it to be; and
  • The condition is unreasonably dangerous to the expected consumer.

For example, an airbag that fails to implode upon impact in a crash would be defective, since a consumer would not expect it to operate that way, and an explosion is certainly unreasonably dangerous. Automobiles can be defective in both design and manufacturer.

Once you establish that the automobile is defective, you must also show the defective condition existed when the product left the manufacturer’s control. If it didn’t, then the manufacturer cannot be legally liable; however, someone else along the distribution chain, such as the dealership from which you purchased the car, may be liable if they caused or knew of the defect, yet sold the vehicle anyway.

Also, you must show that the defective vehicle was the proximate cause of your injuries. For example, an airbag may fail to implode, but if you suffered an injury to your leg that had nothing to do with the airbag, you won’t be able to hold the airbag or vehicle manufacturer liable. To get the manufacturer to pay you compensation, you need to provide a link between the defective product and your injuries.

Defenses

Manufacturers are strictly liable if they put a defective product into the stream of commerce that injures you. “Strict liability” is a legal term that basically means a manufacturer can’t argue they used all reasonable care to make the product safe. Instead, the law imposes liability because the manufacturer chose to release a dangerous product.

However, manufacturers still have some defenses they can raise in these types of lawsuits:

  • The victim knew of the defect but went ahead and used it anyway
  • The victim misused the product
  • Someone else modified or altered the product, and this alteration caused the injuries

These are hard defenses to prove, but large auto manufacturers have armies of lawyers at their disposal that try to help them win these cases and deny you compensation. Reach out to a Fort Wayne automobile manufacturer liability attorney for help with your case.

Areas We Practice

Other Practice Areas

At the Delventhal Law office, our Fort Wayne personal injury attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights and interests of accident victims. If you or a family member was injured because of the carelessness or recklessness of another party, we can help. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers handle a wide array of legal cases, including:

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Statute of Limitations

Indiana’s statute limits the amount of time that someone has to bring a lawsuit against a vehicle manufacturer. Specifically, you will have two years from the date of your car accident or within 10 years after the delivery of the product to the initial consumer or user.

For example, a vehicle steering defect might have caused a car accident in which you were involved on June 15, 2017. This means you have until June 15, 2019 to bring a lawsuit. The law has different wrinkles that are too complex to summarize here, but it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights. Any delay can only hurt your case.

Experienced Legal Representation

If you have been injured by a dangerous and defective car or car part, know that you are not alone. At the Delventhal Law Office, our team of car accident attorneys in Fort Wayne has helped injured consumers receive millions of dollars in compensation. All you need to do is reach out to us by picking up the phone.

We offer a free consultation, which you can schedule by calling (260) 484-6655.

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