This past August, Ford Motors agreed to pay more than $17 million in fines to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for moving too slowly to recall nearly half a million Ford Escapes almost a decade ago. The vehicles contained serious defects, including gas pedals that could stick, causing the car to accelerate uncontrollably. The defects caused multiple injuries and one fatality.
Auto manufacturers often issue car recalls to avoid products liability lawsuits and potential payouts to injury victims. If you were hurt in an accident caused by a vehicle defect, you may have a products liability claim against manufacturers and other parties.
Parties in a products liability suit include those within the chain of distribution, the route from the manufacturer to the person who was injured:
Florida law holds manufacturers strictly liable for any injuries caused by defective automobiles. This means that the auto manufacturer is responsible for your injuries, regardless of whether it was negligent or intended to harm you. Strict liability forces manufacturers to be very careful to avoid inherently dangerous situations, including defective cars that can cause terrible injuries.
In Florida, you have four years from the time you discovered the vehicle defect to bring your claim. If you were injured after buying a used or leased car, you have to bring your claim within 12 years of when the vehicle was delivered to the first purchaser or lessee of the vehicle.
If you or someone close to you has been injured or killed by a defective motor vehicle in the Clearwater area, a Florida attorney familiar with products liability law can advise you about how to obtain full compensation.