Frequently Asked Questions about Motor Vehicle Defects
Q: What is “crashworthiness?”
A: Crashworthiness is the ability of a vehicle to prevent injuries to the occupants in the event of a collision.
Q: How does the fact that a driver may have caused an accident affect a crashworthiness action?
A: The doctrine of crashworthiness centers around the enhancement of injuries caused by a motor vehicle defect. The issue becomes whether the defect increased the injuries, and fault of a person injured does not prevent recovery on a crashworthiness action. The fault issue may arise when the court or jury weighs the comparative fault of the individual causing the accident with the fault of the manufacturer, so that a reduction in the amount of damages you are entitled to may result.
Q: What kinds of things affect a vehicle’s “crashworthiness?”
A: The vehicle’s size, design, and safety features (including seat belts, airbags, and crumple zones) all affect its crashworthiness.
Q: What is a lemon law?
A: A lemon law protects the purchaser of a new or almost-new car from the risk that the car is defective. Under a lemon law, you may return a new car that was leased or sold with a manufacturer’s warranty that cannot be repaired in a reasonable number of attempts or at all. Most lemon laws also apply to used cars that are still under full warranty and that meet the mileage and time requirements.
Q: I was injured because of a brake defect in a used car I bought. May I recover from the dealer?
A: A used car dealer might be subject to liability in a negligence action for failing to inspect or discover such a defect, but courts disagree on whether dealers in used goods should be subject to strict liability. Most states do not hold such dealers strictly liable.
Q: Who pays for a motor vehicle recall, the automobile’s manufacturer or the vehicle owners?
A: The vehicle manufacturer must remedy the defect for free. This does not apply when the first buyer bought the car more than eight years earlier. In comparison, the standard for tires is three years.
Q: Do I need a San Antonio defective vehicle lawyer if I believe I may have a motor vehicle defect claim?
A: Due to complex issues involved in a motor vehicle defect claim, discussing your case with a Texas auto product liability attorney who is experienced in the area of motor vehicle and product liability is the best way to ensure a thorough evaluation of your case, and your success in getting the appropriate remedy.
Q: Can I still sue even if I’ve made changes to my car after I bought it?
A: As long as the vehicle had not been substantially changed from the condition in which it was originally sold, your claim will most likely not be affected by any minor alterations to the car.
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