If you’ve ever seen The Brave Little Toaster, you’re probably at least vaguely familiar with a popular theme in sci-fi movies and books. Machines come to life and run without any help from humans. Pixar films like Cars and Wall-E introduce us to friendly, loveable characters who drive, roll, and otherwise bleep their way into our hearts. Even cornerstone films like Star Wars rely on this theme to present cultural icons like C3PO and R2D2. The underlying idea to these figures is that the machines have minds of their own. In fiction and on film, the concept is endearing. In life, however, we like our machines to stay as predictable as possible, especially when we rely on them on the road.
When vehicle imperfections and malfunctions cause accidents, the company that made the car in question is liable for damages and injuries sustained in a related accident. In addition, the dealer that sold the car, inspection agencies, and part suppliers may be accountable, depending on the type of defect. This week, a product liability injury lawsuit was filed against Ford Motor Corporation, Continental Tire Corporation, TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Chino Hills Ford, and Beceril Tire Shop after a Ford Expedition SUV was involved in a rollover car crash.
Griselda Bernadino was driving when the car’s left tread separated from the tire, causing the driver to lose control and the vehicle to roll over. She suffered severe spinal and brain injuries, and her five passengers were all seriously hurt.
Attorneys for the plaintiff claim that the car, which was prone to rollovers, could have been made more secure if it came with Electronic Stability Control. Because of the nature of the car, ESC should have been installed automatically and not merely offered as an option. The structure was also too weak to sustain the roof when the car rolled over, causing the vehicle to crush down on the passengers. Other defects included insufficient restraints, defective tires, insecure door latches, unsafe side windows, and lack of air bags.
All of these problems could and should have been addressed by manufacturers and part suppliers, which could have prevented the accident and injuries. If you are involved in an accident during which your vehicle malfunctions, air bags fail to deploy, restraints snap, or the car somehow fails to measure up to safety standards, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against the car company. In today’s world, we rely upon machines, like our cars, to be as safe and predictable as possible. While the Brave Little Toaster may decide to take a spontaneous trip to Mars, cars should be reliable. If yours is not, consult an attorney who specializes in auto accidents and defects to be advised of your rights.