Late last week, as I was on the I-95 South ramp about to merge with traffic on the highway, I began to smell smoke – a lot of smoke. In my rearview mirror, I saw an 18-wheeler hurriedly approaching. Then, I saw it pull past my vehicle on the right side and pull immediately over to the side of the road. By this point, the entire front end of the truck was engulfed in bright orange flames. There was smoke spewing out from under the hood of the truck.
Not being close enough to the far right lane, I wasn’t able to get over to make sure everything was OK. Instead, I did the next best thing and dialed 9-1-1 to make sure that they had received a call about the incident. Fortunately, plenty of good citizens had already placed calls informing local authorities of the disaster on I-95. As I drove farther down, I could see the sky behind me (through the rear-view mirror) filling up with dark smoke. I hoped everything was okay. While I was pleased that people had made sure that fire rescuers were on the way, it upset me that the incident had to happen in the first place.
Having handled product liability cases in the past, I knew that this was probably another one. I wondered what kind, specifically, this was. The most common type of product liability case involves defects in manufacturing. Basically, a defect in manufacturing is one that is unintended. This is the most direct instance in which strict liability applies. A common example given to explain defects in manufacturing would be the braking system in a car not working properly and leading to a car accident. In the case of the truck on fire, because car engines are so complex in nature, it could have been any part of the engine that was manufactured in a subpar fashion that led to flames protruding from the hood and overtaking the cabin. Not only did the truck sustain tremendous damage, the driver of the truck surely didn’t escape without some degree of burning (not to mention mental anguish).
So, even though the manufacturer of the parts might not have intended for their products to fail, they might still be directly liable. This is, of course, because of the issue of “strict liability” which is pretty much self-explanatory. Issues that fall under the umbrella of “strict liability” span the spectrum of personal injury law. It sort of implies that the mitigating factors are not relevant, and no matter the circumstance, the manufacturer is to be held liable.
Of course, this example is a simple one. These rules might blindly apply if the vehicle that caught on fire was owned as a personal car. Because the truck was an 18 wheeler, it is safe to assume that the person driving the car is not the true owner of the car; the driver of the car probably works (or worked) for a company that owned a great many 18 wheelers, and in that instance, the company also will share some of the liability. This is because the company had the responsibility of making sure that the truck underwent safety inspections on a regular basis to prevent these types of disasters.
In product liability cases, there are other factors that may come into play. In addition to everything listed above, the mileage on the vehicle might come into question as well. It’s easier to prove a liability case if the car in question has 5,000 miles on it and much more difficult to prove one if the car has 250,000 miles on its odometer. This is because things aren’t made to last forever.
If you’d like to discuss this case or any other legal matter with an experienced personal injury attorney, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at email@example.com.