Recognizing Potential Automotive Defect Cases

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Roof Crush

Roof crush creates many problems for occupants in the vehicle. Because it rapidly reduces the space in the vehicle, it increases the risk that the occupant will receive a spinal cord compression injury. It also significantly increases the likelihood that a properly belted occupant will be partially ejected out of the vehicle window during the rollover. Some newer vehicles have side-curtains that are designed to keep people in the vehicle during a rollover. If you were involved in a rollover and the roof has collapsed, your vehicle may be defective for having a weak roof or failing have a proper air bag for a rollover.


Post Collision Fuel Fed Fires

One of the most well-known automotive product defects that made its way into the living rooms and minds of Americans was the exploding Ford Pinto gas tank. While the Pinto cases centered in the 1970s, post-collision fuel-fed fires still occur and are still, sometimes, the result of defectively designed automobiles. Fuel tank fires are often caused by an excess amount of gasoline being released from the tank, or where the filler neck enters the tank, as a result of a collision. This can occur because the gas tank is not properly guarded and is punctured as a result of a collision. It can also occur when a collision causes the filler neck to be pulled out of the tank, releasing an excess amount of gasoline. There are safer alternative designs that limit the amount of gasoline expelled when a filler neck is pulled out of the tank. If your vehicle caught on fire after an accident, it may be defective.


Defective Tires

The Ford/Firestone litigation brought the issue of tire defects into the forefront of public knowledge. Until then, most did not know a tire could just fail in the normal course of use. A tire defect, oftentimes referred to as a tire delamination or tire detread, usually involves the bottom layer of steel belts separating from the second layer of steel belts and outside tread. A large strip of tread, and sometimes accompanying smaller pieces, separating from the tire while in use, often identifies tire delaminations. A delamination will significantly decrease a person's ability to control the vehicle and will sometimes result in an accident. It is common for people to mistakenly refer to these tire events as "blowouts." A blowout is a sudden loss in air pressure. A tire delamination does not necessarily entail the loss of air pressure. Sometimes the tire will lose the tread but retain its air pressure through the entire accident sequence.


Seatback Failures

A seatback should normally maintain its rigidity throughout an accident sequence. Failure to do so is often a defect. Seatback cases typically are associated with rear-end or front-end collisions. Seatback failures happen when a force causes the seat to collapse rearward or forward. Injuries commonly associated with seatback failure include paraplegia, quadriplegia, and death as a result of a broken neck. If you were involved in a crash and your seat back failed, your vehicle may be defective.


Unstable Vehicles

"Stability" is the likelihood that a car will or will not rollover in a crash. Vehicles that are flat and low to the ground are more stable and less prone to rolling over. The stability of SUVs, truck and vans is more often an issue than with passenger cars. If you have been involved in a rollover, your vehicle may be "defective" because it is not stable.


Electronic Stability Control

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is a generic term for systems designed to improve a vehicle's handling. ESC engages to ensures a car does not lose control and maintains the path the driver intends. Some studies have confirmed that the accident rates among vehicles with ESC are significantly less that those without the system. Your vehicle may be defective if it does not incorporate an ESC system



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