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  • Writer's pictureJim Fleenor

Motor Vehicle Defects in Car Accident Cases


Car accident cases are routine for many personal injury attorneys. Insurance companies handle them like an assembly line. Large advertising lawyers handle them that way too. Why? Because it’s easy. Easy in, easy out. A quick buck and move on. So what’s the problem? There are significant motor vehicle defects cases that go unnoticed and unfiled, leaving an extraordinary amount of money on the table that would help compensate those injured as a result of a car accident.


Who’s Liable for Defective Motor Vehicles?

In Alabama, the manufacturer, designer, and even the distributor of a defective product can be liable for the injuries caused by that defective product. A product may be defective in its design or in the way that it was manufactured. A product may be made defective by a defective component. Most subassemblies on a vehicle and their subparts are made by someone other than the vehicle manufacturer. But that does not prevent nor protect manufacturers from liability in most cases. For products that cannot be made safer, adequate warnings of their dangers are usually required, as are adequate instructions for their proper and safe use. These are additional opportunities for liability for those who fail to warn or warn inadequately.


What Types of Motor Vehicle Defects Exist?

While a collision resulting from someone’s negligence may have started the chain of events that ultimately caused the injuries, a motor vehicle defect may have actually caused the injuries or perhaps made them worse. The law allows recovery for the damages caused as a result. These damages or injuries could have been caused or exacerbated by:

  • Defective seat belts

  • Defective airbags

  • Defective brakes

  • Defective seat belt pre-tensioner

  • Defective crumple zone

  • Defective weld, tire, seat, steering column, windshield, door latch, or any other component, sub-assembly, or part

Injuries can also be caused or exacerbated by defects outside of the vehicles. The roadway itself may be defective, either in its design or how it was constructed. Such defects include:

  • Poor drainage

  • Inadequate markings

  • Poor shoulders

  • Missing or ineffective signage

  • Blind spots


What Other Types of Accidents Can Be Caused by Defects?

Motorcycles and ATVs can also be defective, but the defective products involved in such accidents can extend beyond the actual vehicle – to the helmet, for example. And commercial vehicles (trucks, tractors, farm equipment) are just as prone to defects, only their defects can result in much more catastrophic injuries simply because of their size, their loads, and their operating environments.


A good car accident lawyer will explore all the circumstances and conditions which could have caused a client’s injuries, including motor vehicle defects and conditions, and will keep the client updated on developments, research, cases, and investigations dealing with particular products. A thorough investigation is a must. This is not easy or inexpensive. But it is necessary to fight for the compensation a client deserves. At Fleenor Law, car accident attorney Jim Fleenor doesn’t settle for the easy. He goes the extra mile for his clients.

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