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.
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.