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Product Liability Matters in Auto Accidents

Many auto accidents occur and no apparent reason for the collision can be determined unless someone witnesses something unusual. Often times a driver is actually held responsible when auto parts fail to operate properly, such as brake failure that goes undetected. But, when a case can be investigated and it can be proved that an auto component has failed, there is always a potential for a product liability claim against the car dealer and the parts manufacturer, even when a driver is also partially at fault. And, all experienced New York personal injury attorneys like our team at Levine and Wiss understand that a valid product liability claim make the difference between being properly compensated for an accident injury or potentially being unable to collect anything.

Product Liability and Strict Scrutiny

All personal injury cases are centered on negligence, especially in an auto accident. The drivers in each accident are all assessed for contribution to causing the accident and those with the greatest degree of negligence are held responsible. The state of New York uses pure comparative negligence law, which means that all injured drivers are eligible for personal injury damages unless they are totally at fault for a crash.

The amount of damages allowed is then discounted by the amount of comparative negligence percentage assigned to the injured driver claimant. However, when a vehicle part malfunctions, the accident can be completely the fault of the manufacturer in many cases when the personal injury representatives can prove the malfunction. And, in addition, it is not required for the attorney to prove negligence under strict scrutiny doctrine. All that is needed is a direct association with causing the accident.

How a Product Liability Claim Can Impact a Final Settlement

Many auto accident victims are limited in collectible damages based on the level of insurance carried by the driver of the vehicle they are riding in. New York state is one of 12 states that utilizes no fault insurance law, so injury claims are filed with the driver's insurance company initially. However, serious or catastrophic injuries are still subject to financial damage pursuit in certain instances, such as when product liability is part of the cause.

The fact that a corporation is also liable means there is a much better chance of receiving a whole damage settlement because of availability of significant payment funds and the potential of a punitive damage award by a sympathetic jury if the case goes to trial. If punitive damages are in line, an experienced personal injury attorney can use that as leverage to force a full settlement for their injury client.

Anyone in New York who has been injured in an auto accident due to a malfunctioning auto part should contact the attorneys at Levine and Wiss for a full evaluation of a potential product liability claim.