Defective Products: Testing to Prove Legal Claims

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Defective auto parts and flawed car design can result to serious injuries and even death. For example, Ford Explorer (1991-2001 year model) has been blamed for the death of hundreds of people over the past 18 years with its design that makes it vulnerable to rollover crashes.

While several high-profile accidents have already been attributed to defective car parts or flawed design, many automakers continue to deny such claims to avoid legal obligations especially the monetary compensation for the injured consumers and surviving relatives of victims.

Bring Proof to Defective Part Claims

These companies cannot escape their legal responsibilities if the laboratory examinations will prove that the accident is not the fault of the injured victims, but a direct result of the automakers’ failure to provide safe vehicles for their consumers.

Examples of Product Liability Cases

Faulty Product: BMW's Airbags

Last year, BMW announced a recall on its 200,000 vehicles which have been tested to have defective airbags.  According to an expert’s analysis, these safety equipment may not eject or have late deployment in the event of a collision. While the automaker giant can be lauded for announcing a product recall, many companies are still apprehensive to make such decision that will hurt its finances (at the expense of consumers).

Product Design Flaw: Chryslers Seatbelts

Chrysler Gen-3 seatbelt is probably the most infamous defective auto part in the US.  According to safety experts and consumer groups, the seatbelt may accidentally unlatch in the event of high-impact collisions. However, when the carmaker conducted its own laboratory testing to determine the degree of the vehicle’s crashworthiness, the seatbelt did not unlatch inadvertently.  In response to this result, many experts explained that the crash dummy and the seat were perfectly positioned and that the company did not fully simulate a real collision because there was no flying object and moving hand that may accidentally unlatch the safety harness.

Another test, called as the "30mm Ball", was conducted in front of several officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  This test involves rolling a ball on top of the buckles to see if it will unlatch or not.

The result of the second test was surprising and has undermined the first one conducted by Chrysler:  the seatbelt’s buckle unlatched when the ball rolled over it. Meanwhile, the automaker’s head engineer said the second result did not have any importance, adding that many seatbelts which are generally considered as safe also unlatched during the "30mm Ball" test.

Laboratory Testing in Product Liability Claims

While manufacturers have the tendency to refute and undermine some experts’ opinions and the result of the laboratory testing—especially when these reveal a defective auto part and flawed design—these crashworthiness examinations can help consumers to gather evidences against the negligent companies, and thus, giving them a chance to be awarded by courts with monetary compensation.