Can auto defects be identified proactively, before injuries?

Ideally, a manufacturer will conduct adequate testing of its product before releasing it to the public. Indeed, one rationale behind product liability laws is that the entities that made or designed a product are often best situated to spot any potential harm that may result from the product’s use.

In a very proactive move, automaker General Motors recently ordered dealers to halt sales of vehicles containing a certain driver’s side air bag. GM believes that a component responsible for second-stage inflation may not have been installed in the airbag in question during the assembly process. Over 1,500 vehicles may be affected in new Chevrolet Malibu and Colorado models, as well as the GMC Canyon. A recall is also reportedly in the works.

In this case, GM identified the potential defect during a routine quality inspection. The defect may not have been spotted initially because the airbag might work properly under other conditions. In high-speed crashes, however, a malfunction may occur during the second stage of the airbag’s inflation.

Fortunately, no injuries or motor vehicle accidents have been reported under this issue. Yet that’s not always the case with an automotive manufacturing or design defect. The various lawsuits brought against GM over its faulty ignition switch and related recall is a tragic reminder of that reality.

If you were injured while operating a product for its intended use, an attorney can advise you of your rights. Although a manufacturer may have deep pockets, our law firm has the experience to build a strong product liability claim, showing how the product was defective from its advertised use and establishing causation between that product defect and your injury before requesting the full amount of damages you may deserve.

Source: USA Today, “GM halts sale of 1,579 new trucks, cars over defect concern,” Chris Woodyard, March 9, 2016

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