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Automotive and Tire Defects Lawyers Los Angeles

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ATV and Rhino RolloverWe trust auto and auto parts manufacturers to offer us products that are safe, work well and are free from defects. But not every manufacturer deserves that trust. The federal government has recalled billions of autos and auto parts due to defects that make them unsafe. Many of these recalls succeed in protecting Americans, but a minority take place only after an innocent motorist is hurt or killed because of the recalled product. And in a cynical effort to save money, a few unscrupulous manufacturers knowingly continue to make and sell defective products and parts even after they know the products are unsafe — and even when a safer alternative is only slightly more expensive.

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That was the situation in the case that firm partner Brian Panish of the Los Angeles car accident attorneys Panish Shea & Boyle LLP won against General Motors in 1999 for a record $4.9 billion, the largest personal injury verdict in American history at the time. In that case, Anderson v. GM, two adults and four children riding in a 1979 Chevy Malibu were severely burned because of the defective design and placement of the vehicle’s gas tank. A drunk driver rear-ended the car at more than 70 miles per hour, causing the tank — which was placed in front of the rear bumper — to rupture and cause an explosion. At trial, Brian Panish and his co-counsel showed a 1973 memo from a General Motors engineer showing that it would cost $6 extra per vehicle to move the tank to a safer location over the rear axle of vehicles. But instead of incurring that extra cost, they argued, GM put profits first and exposed thousands of people to the risk of injuries like the plaintiffs had sustained.

“Two of the firm’s partners, Brian Panish and Adam Shea, won more than $55 million for the plaintiff, making the case the nation’s largest defective-tire verdict.”

Another success for the firm had to do with tire tread separation, a recent and very widespread auto product defect that led to the recall of almost seven million Bridgestone/Firestone tires in 2000 and 2001. Before the recall, the tires were responsible for at least 271 deaths and 800 injuries, according to the federal Department of Transportation. These defective tires, many of which were included on brand-new Fords, had a tendency to fall apart while being used at high speeds causing drivers to lose control and be involved in serious auto accidents. In Lampe v. Continental Tire, the resulting accident left a woman paraplegic. Two of the firm’s partners, Brian Panish and Adam Shea, won more than $55 million for the plaintiff, making the case the nation’s largest defective-tire verdict.

The partners of Panish Shea & Boyle are recognized as leaders in the field of tire and automotive defects law. They have been repeatedly honored and nominated as Trial Lawyers of the Year over the past decade; Brian Panish has also won the American Jurisprudence Award in Product Liability. Brian Panish frequently speaks on trial procedure before consumer attorneys’ groups and all three are active in professional life.

Auto Product Liability and Tire Defect Verdicts & Settlements

Give us a call today at (310) 477-1700 to book your FREE consultation!

Why Choose Us?

  • We have years of experience fighting and winning defective automobile lawsuits.
  • We are not afraid to take on major corporations at trial.
  • We have a stellar reputation in Los Angeles for our commitment to the cause.
  • We will dedicate individualized attention to your unique claim.
  • We have award-winning attorneys who take auto defect cases on a contingency fee basis.

Common Automotive Defects

In our years of experience, we have helped many injured parties file lawsuits against major corporations and insurance companies for defective automobiles and tires. Defective vehicles have caused thousands of car accidents, along with hundreds of significant injuries and deaths throughout history. It is our mission to hold manufacturers responsible for the damage they cause through the failure to produce safe parts. We can help clients after accidents involving all types of defective products.

  • Seat belts
  • Airbags
  • Tires
  • Computers
  • Fuel systems
  • Steering
  • Electrical systems
  • Brakes
  • Ignition systems

Even a seemingly minor vehicle defect could disrupt the vehicle’s performance enough to cause a serious car accident. The driver may lose control of the vehicle – especially after something such as a tire blowout – and crash into other vehicles, guardrails or utility poles. In these accident cases, the part manufacturer could be financially responsible for the victims’ damages.

Can a Passenger in a Car Accident Sue for Injuries?

If you were the passenger in a tire or automobile defect car accident, you may also have the right to file a lawsuit against a manufacturer or another party for your injuries. Your injuries as a passenger are just as valid as a driver’s injuries in any car accident case in LA. The claims process, however, will look slightly different for you as a nondriver. In most cases, it will be easier to obtain compensation. Since you were not at fault for the accident, arguments such as comparative negligence will not apply. You will, however, need to prove another party’s fault to obtain compensation.

  • The driver of your vehicle. If the person driving your vehicle was negligent in some way that contributed to the collision, you may be able to bring a claim with that driver’s insurer. You will file an injury claim with that driver’s insurance company for compensation.
  • The other driver. If the other driver in the accident caused the crash, file a claim with that party’s insurance provider. Start your own claim or join that of the person driving your vehicle. If both drivers contributed to the car accident, you may be able to file a claim with both insurance companies for full financial recovery.
  • The tire or vehicle manufacturer. As an injured passenger, you will also have the right to bring an auto product lawsuit against the manufacturer if a defect caused or contributed to the crash. You may start your opersfffffwn lawsuit or join a class action if multiple parties have already started a class action against the manufacturer.

As a passenger, you should take all the same steps as an injured driver after an accident. Go to the hospital immediately for an evaluation of your injuries. Keep copies of your medical receipts and any other injury-related expenses. Try to gather information about the accident, such as the names of witnesses and the police report number. Then, contact an attorney for assistance with your auto defect case in Los Angeles.

The Burden of Proof in a Defective Product Claim

Most defective product claims involve strict liability rather than typical personal injury laws. Your lawyer may not need to prove the defendant’s negligence to obtain a settlement or verdict award. The auto part manufacturer may be strictly liable for your damages even if it was not negligent in designing or creating the part. Federal laws hold manufacturing companies strictly responsible for the products they create. Your lawyer will need to prove three main elements to succeed with your claim.

  1. The auto part contained a defect. In general, your lawyer will need to establish that the auto part in question contained a defect in design, manufacture or marketing. If the part contained one of these defects, the rules of strict product liability should apply to your case. Your lawyer will not need to demonstrate that the part contained one of these defects through any fault of the manufacturer’s.
  2. The automotive or tire defect caused your injuries. Second, your lawyer will need to prove that it was the defective part that caused or substantially contributed to the auto accident and/or your injuries. If a negligent driver caused the collision, for example, the part manufacturer may not be liable, even if the vehicle contained a defect. If a defective seat belt is what caused your injuries, however, the driver and the manufacturer could share liability.
  3. You suffered injuries in the collision. Finally, your lawyer will need to help you establish damages. Damages refer to the physical, emotional and financial losses you suffered because of the auto accident. Your lawyer must prove that the defective auto part or tire caused you specific losses, such as medical costs, lost wages or property damages.

A personal injury attorney in Los Angeles can help you establish the elements you will need to obtain a settlement from an automaker for a defective product. If the defendant refuses to settle your case, your lawyer will be able to take the matter to court in pursuit of fair compensation. If your case involves legal doctrines other than strict product liability, such as negligence or breach of warranty, your lawyer could also help you navigate the elements of these types of claims.

What to Do if You’re Hit With Debris on the Highway?

Debris-related accidents are common on the busy freeways of Southern California. Debris falling from the backs of commercial trucks, dump trucks, pickup trucks or other vehicles could bounce into the road and cause a car crash. Debris left in the road could also pop tires and cause related accidents. If debris fell from someone else’s vehicle, that vehicle’s driver or another party may be responsible. Commercial truck debris may be the responsibility of the trucking company, for instance. A Los Angeles truck accident lawyer can help you determine liability in these types of accidents.

Objects lying in the roadway could be the fault of the city for failure to properly inspect, clean and maintain its roads. The City of Los Angeles is responsible for maintaining public roads and highways to reasonably prevent accidents, including crashes related to debris. If you believe the city is at fault for your debris-related accident, you will need to bring your case to the attention of the agency responsible within six months of your car accident.

Many debris-related car accident claims do not have an at-fault party available. You may not be able to hold anyone responsible for your damages if the at-fault driver drove off without realizing he or she caused your accident. In these cases, a claim with your insurance provider may compensate you. Your personal injury protection or collision insurance coverage may cover your damages. If you do not carry this coverage, speak to a lawyer about a potential lawsuit instead.

Request a Free Consultation Today

Automotive and tire defects are extremely serious. A single defect within an automobile could cause a catastrophic or fatal car accident. Part defects are often preventable with due care from the manufacturing or distributing company. If you believe a corporation or another party could owe you financial compensation for your recent car accident in Los Angeles, contact the attorneys at Panish Shea & Boyle LLP for a free consultation. We have years of experience handling these types of injury cases in California and may be able to help you obtain fair compensation. Call (310) 477-1700 today.


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