Kentucky residents may be aware that millions of vehicles have been recalled in recent years because of safety issues ranging from locking ignition switches to exploding airbags. The accidents and litigation that prompts these recalls can damage corporate reputations and erode hard-won market shares. In addition, product liability lawsuits can also be difficult for manufacturers to win. This is because of the doctrine of strict liability, which means that plaintiffs are not required to demonstrate that defendants acted negligently or recklessly.
Not having to establish negligence makes product liability lawsuits less intimidating to plaintiffs. However, the thought of taking legal action against a wealthy and powerful corporation can still be frightening. Since civil litigation is conducted in public, the process can be easier for those who have been injured in an accident caused by defective auto parts.
Product liability issues can cause sales to plummet and stock prices to sink, which is why manufacturers may wish to settle these matters quietly whenever possible. They may also desire a speedy resolution to avoid punitive damages. Corporations are sometimes ordered to pay millions of dollars to the defendants in product liability cases when they have not done enough to protect consumers. These punitive damages are designed to both hold wrongdoers accountable and deter others from taking the same path.
When these cases do go to trial, arguments of contributory negligence are common. Auto makers may claim that plaintiffs took a safe product and made it dangerous by modifying it or not maintaining it properly. A personal injury attorney could anticipate this type of defense by having the product and its method of manufacture examined by experts.