It’s been over half a century since Ralph Nader published his groundbreaking book Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, but we are still living in a world where product defects cause a disturbing number of car accidents each year.
Nader Blows the Whistle
Although he is best known today as the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2000, Ralph Nader built his reputation as a crusader for consumer rights. When he published Unsafe at Any Speed, which exposed the auto industry’s downright disdain for consumer safety it was like a thunderclap.
Forty-nine states passed seatbelt laws. Congress created the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And, the auto industry begins to take consumer safety more seriously because the public demanded it to do so.
We take it for granted that it is safe to get behind the wheel and hit the road, and Nader’s book is a big reason why. But perhaps we shouldn’t be so trusting. There are still many accidents each year caused by product defects.
Not Quite Corvair Level, but Still Concerning
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2018 National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NMVCCS), around 2% of all car accidents are attributable to problems with the vehicle. The NHTSA notes that this percentage might be too low because it only tracks problems that are visible on the outside of a car after a crash. There could be engine problems or instrument problems that are not getting captured in this data.
At the Sherman Law Firm, we know product and design defects continue to cause car accidents because we represent clients who have been in accidents caused by the car they were driving.
Our legal system allows drivers who have been injured in such an accident to hold the manufacturer or dealer responsible, just like they would hold a negligent or reckless driver who caused an accident responsible.
Depending on the specifics of your case, we may file a lawsuit against the car manufacturer, the manufacturer of its parts, the party that assembled or installed the product, the wholesaler or retail establishment that sold you the car. We just have to be able to prove that:
- Part of the vehicle was poorly designed, mistakenly manufactured and/or didn’t come with appropriate instructions or warnings.
- You sustained serious injuries and/or financial losses due to the aforementioned defect.
- You were using the vehicle as intended when you were injured.
This task is getting easier since cars continue to become more high-tech, with computers and sensors recording lots of information about what was going on in a car at the time of an accident.
It Takes One Spark To Get A Fire Burning
It is important to hold the auto industry responsible for each an every accident it causes. While one accident may be a fluke, multiple similar accidents can identify a serious defect that is liable to injury many people if it is not fixed. This is how the industry and the public learned about problems with Volvo’s steering mechanism, GM ignition switches, Takata Airbags, Chrysler Jeep fuel tank defects, several brands of SUVs with a propensity to roll over.
If you were injured in a car accident, and you suspect your vehicle is to blame, it is your right and your responsibility to come forward, seek compensation, and shed some light on a potentially deadly defect.