Liability of Car Distributor/Manufacturer in Automobile Accident Cases


When an automobile accident occurs, there can be many causes. Some causes can make a car distributor or manufacturer liable for the injuries and damages in an automobile accident case. For instance, a manufacturer can be liable for damages caused by its failure to exercise reasonable care in the design of an automobile.


The critical issue in design-defect cases is the reasonableness of the manufacturer in marketing that design. For a design defect, the injured person must prove that it was more likely than not that the manufacturer of the automobile was liable for the injuries he or she sustained because the manufacturer’s product was not reasonably fit, suitable, or safe for its intended purpose because it was designed in a defective manner.


A manufacturer or distributor of a component product, like an automobile, can be liable for the harm caused by the absence of a safety device in the finished car, like a seat belt or roll-over bar. The injured party has to prove that it was more likely than not that it was foreseeable and practical for the safety device to have been installed at the time the car was within the control of the manufacturer or distributor.


If an injured person wants to prove that a manufacturer created a defective car, he or she must show that the defect existed when the car left the manufacturer’s control and that the defect proximately causes the complained-of injuries. The manufacturer cannot defend the injured person’s product liability action by showing that it met its industry’s standards on safety. The issue is whether the car failed to perform as the ordinary consumer would expect.

Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.