We stand up to companies who make defective vehicles and parts in Virginia
Defective auto parts like airbags, brakes, and tires can contribute to or even cause a crash that results in serious injuries or death. Even when manufacturers recall these defective parts, the recalls often come too late for injured victims, and the manufacturers also sometimes fail to comply with the terms of the recall. At Phelan Petty, our Richmond product liability lawyers believe that we have a duty to help victims recover and rebuild after someone else’s negligence turns their life upside-down. That is why we dedicate our resources to building the best possible cases for our clients. We use our legal and medical knowledge and work alongside world-class technical experts to level the playing field and hold negligent companies accountable, no matter how big they are.
Get Your Case Evaluation
Automotive defect cases we handle
At Phelan Petty, we focus our practice on handling a small number of complex cases, including product liability claims involving defective and recalled cars, trucks, and automobile parts. In the past, we have handled cases involving:
- Fiat Chrysler vehicles, including defective Jeep Commanders and Grand Cherokees
- GM ignition switch defects
- Exploding Takata airbags
We do not just take on every case that comes in the door like many of the law firms who advertise on TV, radio, billboards, and social media. Instead, we selectively handle a small number of cases and focus on the victims who need our help most — those with complicated claims and serious injuries.
Types of automotive defects
Our attorneys have years of experience fighting and litigating against big corporations and insurance companies on behalf of our clients. We’re dedicated to serving consumers just like you who have suffered injury and loss due to the negligent actions of automotive companies, parts manufacturers or dealerships.
There is a nearly limitless amount of kinds of car defects and recalls that can cause motor vehicle accidents and injuries. Following are just a few of the most common dangerous auto and truck defects.
Airbag defects have been in the news recently due to the infamous Takata airbag recall. However, any airbag can fail due to a defect. Airbags can mistakenly deploy, or deploy with too much force, due to faulty crash sensors or inflators that are too powerful.
Brakes can fail on a vehicle due to defective design, improper manufacturing, faulty auto parts or improper repairs. Any of these can lead to your braking system malfunctioning or not working at all.
Defective tires and treads
Tire blowouts are a hazard that can lead to tire blowouts and car and truck accidents. A common type of tire defect is tread separation, which can happen when old or defective glue is used during the manufacturing process. Another common tire defect is sidewall or bead failure, which can lead to a pressure loss and a sudden tire collapse or blowout.
Impact protection defects
Vehicles with improperly designed roofs or doors can cave in during a crash or rollover. These types of defects happen when cars or trucks are built with doors that cannot properly withstand a side-impact collision or crash.
Most seatbelt defects involve them not locking properly, leading to them unlatching or releasing during an accident. A passenger or driver may be ejected through the window. A defective seatbelt may also not fully retract and leave too much slack, also putting the driver or passenger at risk during a car accident.
How do I know if my vehicle was recalled?
When a car manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic & Safety Association (NHTSA) determines a vehicle has a safety defect, they can initiate a recall. To do so, they alert vehicle dealerships and owners to the problem and offer a solution or repair. Car manufacturers are required by law to notify owners of the vehicles. You can also check the NHTSA website to stay current on vehicle recalls.
If you’re notified about a vehicle recall, the notice should include details like the nature of the defect, the risk posed by the defect, possible warning signs, how the manufacturer plans to fix the problem, and instructions on what to do next. Typically, you would contact your authorized dealer to set up an appointment for a repair, which is usually free of charge.
Who is liable for my Virginia defective vehicle accident?
There are a number of parties or entities who could be liable for vehicle and auto defects. Every party who plays a role in the development of a vehicle – manufacturer, parts supplier, dealer or repair shop – may be responsible for the defect. Tracking down who is liable can depend on the type of defect and where in the product chain it may have occurred. A product defect may have happened all the way back in the design stage, could have happened during the manufacturing process, or you may have had a defective part put in your vehicle during a scheduled repair.
Filing a defective vehicle claim in Richmond
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident due to a vehicle or auto defect, you may be eligible to recover compensation. You have two years from the date of your injury to bring a claim under Virginia statute of limitations. You can make a liability claim if your case meets the three following requirements:
- The vehicle or one of its parts had a dangerous defective that caused you injury.
- The defect caused you injury while you were using the vehicle in the way it was intended.
- The vehicle was not substantially changed from the condition in which it was originally sold; i.e. not significantly modified in any way.
If these are all true, you may be able to bring a successful automotive defect liability suit against the manufacturer or distributor of your vehicle.
Richmond auto defect and vehicle recall lawyers
When you choose Phelan Petty to fight for you, your case will benefit from the full attention and relentless dedication of an experienced injury lawyer who will keep you informed throughout every step of the legal process. If you or someone you love has suffered serious harm because of a defective or recalled vehicle or part, contact us today to get a free, no-risk assessment of your case from an experienced Virginia personal injury and product liability attorney.