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Auto defect in occupant protection system leads to lawsuit

By the time cars are available for sale, they have undergone rigorous testing, and supposedly, they have passed enough tests to be deemed road-ready and safe for transporting passengers. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and an auto defect can cause severe injuries, sometimes even death. A tire may blow out, an airbag may fail to deploy or a seat belt can fail to hold passengers safely in their seats. The brakes may even malfunction.

A recent accident in West Virginia apparently led to a man's injury and permanent harm. The victim and his mother filed separate claims against the car dealership, Mitsubishi North America, and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. According to the claim, when the man was struck, the occupant safety system failed to operate. Negligence, product liability and breach of warranty are among the allegations advanced.

The lawsuit claims strict liability, meaning the defendants should be responsible for the arguably defective product simply because they manufactured and/or sold it. Understandably, a defect in the production process could be life-threatening for consumers. If someone is subsequently injured or even killed as a result, those involved in making the vehicle or sell it could face legal responsibility for damages sustained.

When a defective seat belt and airbag are not detected during the vehicle's production, the risk is that they will be discovered too late. Life hangs in the balance for both drivers and passengers when it comes to a potential auto defect. It remains to be seen what the result of this West Virginia legal claim will be. The plaintiffs will now have their opportunity to prove liability in a civil courtroom, and if successful, to have their demands for financial compensation adjudicated.

Source: The West Virginia Record, Mitsubishi sued, occupant protection system allegedly failed, Joel Brakken, Nov. 1, 2013

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