Auto Products Liability

Since the day they first formed their own firm, Conley Griggs Partin LLP has focused much of its practice on various types of Automotive Products Liability cases.

Automotive Products Liability cases are those in which either a passenger or the driver of an automobile has suffered serious injury or death because of defects in the automobile’s design or the failure a component part of the automobile (such as a tire or a seat belt or a fuel tank).

In many automotive products liability cases, the actual incident or crash may have been caused by a negligent driver, but the failure of the vehicle design or vehicle component is what caused an injury to become a serious or fatal one.

If you have been in a collision caused by someone else but you believe that the vehicle did not perform as it should have and caused the injuries to be worth than they should have been, you may well have a products liability case.

If you think you may have a products liability case, even if you are not sure and just want to investigate the possibility, two things are very important to remember: First, take all possible steps you can to ensure that the vehicle (and all components on the vehicle) involved are maintained and are not sold, dismantled, salvaged or otherwise lost or altered until you have a chance to retain a lawyer to investigate potential claims and have someone inspect the vehicle.

Second, if you think you may have a potential product liability claim, contact a lawyer before any of your claims related to the incident are settled, as settlements with other parties or insurers could impact your ability to preserve evidence and/or pursue and recover under a products liability theory.

With those basics in mind, understand that Automotive Products Liability cases can generally take one or more of three forms:

  1. "Design defect" cases, which involve claims that a product was designed by the manufacturer in a way that creates dangers and risks of harm to the user that outweigh the benefits of the chosen design. A classic example of a automotive design defect claim would be one in which a manufacturer, by design, placed the fuel tank in an area of the vehicle that it knew would make it susceptible to breaking, and causing fires, in the event of a collision;
  2. "Manufacturing defect" cases, in which some act or omission during the manufacturing process caused the product to fail when being used. A classic example of a manufacturing defect case would be one in which a tire manufacturer used substandard practices in its plant, resulting in the components of the tire separating and failing later while being used; and
  3. "Warning defect" cases, in which it is alleged that a product is dangerous because it does not contain warnings, instructions or labels that apprise the user in regard to the dangers or proper uses of the product. A classic case of a warning defect or "failure to warn" case would be one in which the manufacturer knew about prior problems with a particular vehicle condition, but did not advise consumers or the public of those dangers with the product through labels or instructions.

Lawyers at Conley Griggs Partin LLP have handled and are currently handling design, manufacturing and warning cases involving automobiles and/or automotive component parts. Examples of the types of “auto products” cases they have handled or are currently handling include:

  • Tire tread separation cases (where a tire tread separates and causes loss of control and a collision or rollover)
  • Seat belt or occupant restraint system failure cases (including those where a seat belt fails to hold someone in a vehicle or the belt "spools out" and allows person to move around in the vehicle and suffer injury)
  • Seat back failure cases (where in a rear impact, the seat back falls backwards, causing injury to that occupant or another infant or person seated behind them)
  • Rollover cases (including in particular Ford Explorer cases, in which a vehicle rolls over from sliding forces after making an evasive maneuver on dry pavement)
  • Roof crush cases (where, in a rollover, the roof structure collapses and intrudes into the occupant's head or neck, causing paralysis or death)
  • Fuel-fed fire cases (where after an impact the fuel tank or a component of the fuel tank fails, causing the vehicle to catch fire and the occupants to suffer burns or death)
  • Door latch failures (where a door opens during a rollover or collision incident and a person is ejected fully or partially out that door, suffering injury or death)
  • Crashworthiness cases (where the structure of the vehicle fails to maintain integrity in a collision and unreasonable intrusion of the vehicle into the occupant compartment causes increased injury or death)
  • Air bag cases (including those where, in a frontal collision, the air bag should have deployed but did not as well as those where, in a very minor collision, the air bag deployed too forcefully or too slowly, causing injury itself)
  • Defective wiring connector cases (including cases where faulty connectors cause another component, such as fuel pump or steering component, to not work properly)
  • Window glazing cases (where a person is injured because the windo glass in their vehicle was not laminated and allowed some or all of their body to be ejected in a collision or rollover)

If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call Conley Griggs Partin LLP at (404) 467-1155. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.