A hurt man outside his wrecked car.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Kansas City and suspect that a vehicle defect is to blame, you could be entitled to compensation. You can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer for injuries caused by a defective vehicle. Kansas City laws are designed to protect consumers, holding car manufacturers accountable for any defects that cause harm.

At Holman Schiavone Law, LLC, we are dedicated to helping you seek justice for your injuries. Our experienced attorneys are ready to evaluate your case and guide you through the legal process. 

Call us today at 816-399-5149 to schedule your free consultation and take the first step toward securing the compensation you deserve.

Vehicle Defect Claims in Kansas City

After a car accident, it’s important to understand your rights and determine if a vehicle defect was involved. Kansas City’s state laws provide a clear structure to address motor vehicle defects, covering everything from safety standards to product liability and consumer protection. Understanding your rights and the legal system in Kansas City can help you handle the challenges of a vehicle defect claim.

Identifying a Defective Product

The process starts by identifying if your vehicle contains a dangerous or defective product. Pinpointing defects is not just about identifying what went wrong; it’s about acknowledging that a thorough investigation could uncover design flaws or manufacturing errors hidden beneath the surface.

It’s about linking these defects directly to the injury you sustained, a task that might require expert testimony when the vehicle itself is no longer available to tell its tale. At Holman Schiavone Law, LLC, we can help you by evaluating your case, gathering the necessary evidence, and standing up to insurance companies to ensure you receive the financial compensation you deserve. Our experienced product liability attorneys will construct a compelling legal argument and fight for fair compensation, guiding you through the legal process with dedication and personalized attention.

Examples of Vehicle Defect Claims

Vehicle defect claims can arise from a variety of issues that compromise the safety and functionality of a vehicle. Some common examples include:

  1. Defective Airbags: Airbags that fail to deploy during a collision or deploy unexpectedly can cause serious injuries or fatalities.
  2. Faulty Seat Belts: Seat belts that come unlatched during an accident or fail to retract properly can lead to severe injuries.
  3. Brake Failures: Malfunctioning brakes that do not respond when needed can result in catastrophic accidents.
  4. Tire Defects: Tires that suffer from tread separation, blowouts, or other manufacturing flaws can cause loss of vehicle control.
  5. Engine and Transmission Issues: Defective engines or transmissions that stall, overheat, or fail can lead to dangerous situations on the road.
  6. Steering Problems: Defective steering components that cause a loss of control can result in accidents.
  7. Electrical System Failures: Electrical issues that lead to fires or the failure of critical safety systems like headlights or wipers.
  8. Fuel System Defects: Problems with the fuel system that cause leaks or fires can pose significant hazards.
  9. Structural Defects: Weaknesses in the vehicle’s frame or body that fail to protect occupants during a crash.

These examples illustrate the range of potential defects that can lead to vehicle defect claims, highlighting the importance of thorough investigations and expert testimonies in establishing the link between the defect and the resulting injuries. 

An experienced product liability attorney can help you build your case by managing this investigation process and handling all communications with the manufacturer and insurance companies, ensuring that your rights are protected at every step.

Understanding Strict Liability

Within product liability, strict liability acts as a safeguard, protecting consumers from the risks of defective products. This legal principle doesn’t require you to prove negligence; instead, it’s about showing that the product was inherently dangerous and that this danger resulted in harm. For a successful product liability claim, the evidence must illustrate that the defect existed while the product was still under the manufacturer’s control and that this very defect led to your injuries.

Courts may assess the product’s danger based on what an ordinary consumer would expect or by weighing the product’s risks against its benefits, sometimes using both standards to reach a verdict.

The Role of Warnings and Recalls

Awareness is the first step towards safety, and this is where warnings and recalls play a pivotal role. They alert consumers to potential hazards or defects, enabling them to take corrective measures to avoid harm or injury. 

If you’re unsure about your vehicle’s status, online tools like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database provide a lifeline by allowing you to check if your car has been recalled. What’s reassuring is that manufacturers are legally bound to fix these defects at no cost, or in some cases, even refund you if the repairs don’t solve the problem.

If you’re driving a used car still under warranty, rest easy knowing that you have a right to these recall remedies, which include all necessary repairs covered by the warranty.

Initial Steps After an Accident

If you suspect a manufacturing defect, take the following additional steps:

  • Preserve the Vehicle: Do not make any repairs to your vehicle until it has been inspected by an expert. This ensures that the defect is documented and can be used as evidence.
  • Notify the Manufacturer: Inform the vehicle manufacturer of the suspected defect and your intention to file a claim.
  • Gather Maintenance Records: Collect all maintenance and repair records for your vehicle to demonstrate that the defect was not caused by improper maintenance.
  • Consult with Experts: Work with your product liability attorney to identify and consult with automotive experts who can inspect your vehicle and provide testimony regarding the defect.
  • Document Any Recalls: Check if there have been any recalls related to your vehicle’s make and model and document this information.

Taking these steps can help ensure that you have the necessary evidence to support your claim and increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Recovering Damages from Car Manufacturers

The spectrum of damages that may be recovered in vehicle defect cases is broad, ranging from concrete costs such as medical expenses and repair bills, to more abstract forms of suffering like pain and emotional distress. These can include damages for physical pain, disfigurement, traumatic memories, and life’s limitations that weren’t present before the accident, as well as medical bills.

Types of Damages You Can Potentially Recover After an Accident

Evaluating your losses after an accident goes beyond simple arithmetic. It’s about quantifying the unquantifiable—pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the ripple effects on your future earning capacity. When considering future losses, it’s essential to account for the full impact of permanent disabilities, ongoing medical care costs, and the harsh reality of lost wages or profits. Emotional distress, while less tangible, can also cause significant disruptions in your life and is a compensable part of the losses you’ve suffered due to the accident.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are quantifiable monetary losses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. These can include:

  1. Medical Expenses: Costs for hospital stays, surgeries, doctor visits, physical therapy, medications, and any future medical care related to the accident.
  2. Property Damage: Costs to repair or replace your vehicle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.
  3. Lost Wages: Compensation for the income you lost while recovering from your injuries.
  4. Loss of Earning Capacity: If your injuries result in long-term or permanent disability that affects your ability to work, you may be entitled to compensation for future lost earnings.
  5. Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Any other expenses directly related to the accident, such as transportation costs to medical appointments.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more subjective and compensate for the intangible losses you have experienced. These can include:

  1. Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress you have endured as a result of the accident.
  2. Emotional Distress: Compensation for psychological impacts such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  3. Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If your injuries prevent you from enjoying activities and hobbies you once loved, you may be entitled to compensation.
  4. Loss of Consortium: Compensation awarded to your spouse or family members for the loss of companionship, affection, and support due to your injuries.

Punitive Damages

In some cases, you may also be awarded punitive damages. These are not intended to compensate you for your losses but to punish the defendant for particularly reckless or malicious behavior and to deter similar conduct in the future.

Understanding the types of damages you can recover is crucial in ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve. At Holman Schiavone Law, LLC, our experienced attorneys will work diligently to calculate and present all relevant damages in your case, fighting for compensation on your behalf.

When Corporations Are Held Liable

Corporations, such as vehicle manufacturers, are accountable for the products they distribute to consumers. When a new vehicle suffers from a defect that substantially hampers its use and isn’t fixed despite several attempts, lemon laws may render the corporation liable for your woes.

These laws, along with product liability law cases, create the legal framework where consumers can seek compensation for damages caused by defective vehicles, including those leading to accidents and wrongful death. An experienced product liability attorney can help navigate the legal process and assist with product liability claims, including wrongful death claims.

Proving Fault in Product Liability Cases

Establishing fault in product liability cases entails:

  • A thorough examination of the vehicle’s design specifications
  • A demonstration of how the defect led to the accident or harm
  • Expert testimony shedding light on automotive flaws that might otherwise go unnoticed
  • Piecing together a compelling narrative that convinces the court of the direct causation between the defective product and the damages sustained

At Holman Schiavone Law, we leave no stone unturned in our investigation to assert that vehicle defects were indeed the cause of the damages you’ve incurred.

Contact Us Today About Your Liability Claim

Dealing with an accident can be overwhelming, especially if you believe it may be caused by a manufacturing defect, but you don’t have to face it alone. Here at Holman Schiavone Law, we offer a free initial consultation to help you start the process of seeking justice and to seek medical assistance. Our team of experienced attorneys will discuss the specifics of your case with you, helping to clarify the legal actions available against car manufacturers and the best course forward.

We take pride in offering personalized legal representation that caters to the unique needs and goals of each client, ensuring that your voice is heard and your rights are protected.

If you or a loved one has been affected by a vehicle defect and need legal assistance, don’t wait to seek the justice and compensation you deserve. The team at Holman Schiavone Law, LLC is here to provide you with dedicated support and personalized legal representation. Let us help you take the first step toward securing your rights and achieving a favorable outcome.

Call us today at 816-399-5149 to schedule your free consultation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can sue a car manufacturer if your vehicle was recalled but not repaired in time to prevent an accident. When a vehicle recall is issued, it signifies that the manufacturer has acknowledged a defect that could potentially cause harm. If the defect was not addressed in a timely manner, leading to an accident, the manufacturer can be held liable for any damages or injuries sustained.

In a vehicle defect claim, several types of evidence are crucial to building a strong case. These include:

  1. Accident Reports: Official reports from law enforcement can provide an objective account of the accident and any identified defects.
  2. Photographic Evidence: Photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any visible defects can help illustrate the issue.
  3. Maintenance Records: Documentation of regular maintenance and repairs can demonstrate that the defect was not due to lack of upkeep.
  4. Expert Testimony: Statements from automotive experts who can analyze the defect and explain how it contributed to the accident.
  5. Witness Statements: Accounts from those who witnessed the accident or are familiar with the vehicle’s issues can support your claim.
  6. Recall Notices: Any recall information related to the vehicle can highlight known defects acknowledged by the manufacturer.
  7. Medical Records: Detailed medical documentation of your injuries can link them directly to the accident caused by the defect.

Collecting and organizing this evidence with the help of an experienced attorney can significantly strengthen your case and improve your chances of obtaining fair compensation.

Yes, you can still file a claim even if the defect was discovered after the warranty expired. Product liability laws focus on the defect itself and the harm it caused, rather than the warranty period. If you can demonstrate that the defect existed while the vehicle was under the manufacturer’s control and that it directly led to your injuries, you may still have a valid claim.

If the manufacturer denies that there is a defect, you should gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This can include expert evaluations, photographs, and documentation of similar issues reported by other consumers. An attorney can assist in negotiating with the manufacturer and, if necessary, filing a lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries.

Yes, Kansas City consumers are protected under both state and federal laws that address vehicle defects. The Kansas Consumer Protection Act provides additional safeguards against unfair and deceptive practices by manufacturers. This act allows consumers to seek damages and other remedies if they can prove that the manufacturer engaged in deceptive practices related to the vehicle defect.