Defective auto products are a “silent killer” in Georgia. On average, 300,000 accidents happen in Georgia every year.[1] In many cases, these accidents are caused by defective or poorly serviced vehicles or vehicle equipment, including:

  • Defective brakes
  • Defective doors or door latches
  • Inadequate occupant containment systems that allow ejection of passengers or driver
  • Exploding gas tanks due to placement of the tank or other design defects
  • Malfunctioning airbags
  • Malfunctioning seat belts
  • Rollover or roof-crush accidents caused by a lack of stability control
  • Tread separation caused by a defective tire
  • Unintended Acceleration defects

Accidents in Georgia are not Always Caused by Defective Auto Products, but Defective Auto Products Often Make an Accident Worse

In many cases, accidents are caused by a negligent driver who may have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or was looking at a cell phone. In these cases, the initial accident may have been caused by ordinary negligence, but a defective automotive product may have caused a normal accident to become a serious or fatal wreck. For example, a faulty seat belt may cause the driver of a vehicle to sustain a serious head injury, while the passenger walks away without a scratch. In many cases, the defect is not obvious due to the severity of the wreck or the type of injury sustained. The defective auto products attorneys at Werner Wetherington have seen several wrecks where it was almost impossible to separate a pre-accident defective condition from collision damage. Fortunately, we work with top experts throughout the country who are skilled in accident reconstruction, biomechanics, kinesiology, product engineering, and/or human factors. These experts can help us find the real answers to what did and did not cause an accident in Georgia.

What Types of Defective Auto Cases do we Accept?

The product defect attorneys at Werner Wetherington handle claims involving defective cars, trucks, and SUVs. These defects take many forms, but here are the most common that we see during our investigations of serious and fatal automobile wrecks:

Tire Failures

Defective tire claims take many forms depending on whether the defect arises from a design defect, manufacturing defect, poor service, or a combination of each. In Georgia alone, there are over 1,000 serious or fatal wrecks involving defective tires each year. As a firm, we have dedicated ourselves to representing individuals and families injured in accidents involving defective tires. To learn more about our tire failure practice, click here.

Defective Seats

Defective seat belt cases generally fall into two categories. The first is where the seat belt fails completely and the occupant is thrown from the vehicle or otherwise seriously injured when he or she leaves the seat containment area. The second is where the seat belt fails to adequately restrain the occupant and he or she violently strikes the steering wheel, windshield, or even other occupants. Defective seat belt cases are extremely difficult for an average person or attorney to identify. Spooling systems, torsion bars, latch plates, and webbing designs vary from vehicle to vehicle and it takes a highly experienced eye to identify problems unique to each seat belt system.

Defective Seat Belts

Defective seat design cases where the stock seat (not a child seat) in a passenger car, truck, or SUV suddenly and unexpectedly collapses during a rear collision accident. The resulting collapse can be lethal to the seat occupant and any passengers in the back seat. Defective seat cases are generally identified when one occupant sustains a severe head, neck, or back injury due to a seat that is inexplicably in the down position. Defective seat design cases are often expert intensive and require a careful teardown of the seat and its components.

SUV Rollover Accidents

SUV Rollover claims involve a defectively designed vehicle that is either unreasonably prone to rollover[2] (such as the Ford Explorer) or a vehicle that fails to provide adequate and economically feasible safeguards for occupants, such as electronic stability control. SUV rollover accidents typically involve a vehicle that has rolled over on a roadway without hitting a ditch or other obstacle. In many cases, an SUV rollover may be caused by a blown tire.

Defective Roof in a Car, Truck, Van, or SUV

If the roof is deformed in a rollover accident it will often directly cause an injury or cause other safety systems to lose critical strength in protecting occupants. When the roof of a vehicle shows serious buckling, downward crevices, or is even completely flat, it is often caused by a defectively designed roof. Automobile manufacturers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars fighting against increased roof crush standards while millions of victims from Georgia and other states suffer severe and permanent neck, spine, and head injuries in rollover accidents with defective roofs.

Defective Automobile Door Latch

Defective door latches cause or contribute to thousands of injuries every year. A defective door latch failure case is typically associated with an accident where an occupant is either fully or partially ejected from a vehicle during a rollover accident.

Defective Air Bag

A Defective air bag case generally falls into one of two categories. The first is where a defective airbag fails to go off when the vehicle is involved in a serious accident. The second is when a vehicle does not have an air bag (such as a side-curtain airbag) when the presence of that airbag would have mitigated the severity of a wreck.

Fuel-fed Fire Cases

Fuel-fed fire cases are commonly caused by defectively designed vehicles where the fuel tank is outside of the frame (such as in many Jeep Grand Cherokees) or by defective fuel tank components that allow liquid fuel to escape from the vehicle and cause a fire or make an existing fire much worse.

What Types of Claims do we bring in a Defective Automobile Lawsuit?

The defective auto attorneys at Werner Wetherington typically bring claims in one or more of the following three categories:

Design Defect Cases

A design defect cases claims that a product was designed by the manufacturer in a way that create an unreasonable danger and risks of harm to the user that outweighed the benefits of the chosen design. An example of a design defect claim against an automobile manufacturer is the failure of Chrysler to design a vehicle, like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, with a fuel tank in a safe and contained area of the vehicle. Instead, Chrysler designed the Jeep Grand Cherokee with a tank in an area of the vehicle that it knew would make it susceptible to breaking, and causing fires, in the event of a collision.

Manufacturing Defect Cases

A manufacturing defect case often involves an act or omission during the manufacturing process caused the product to fail when being used. A classic example of a manufacturing defect case would be one in which a tire manufacturer used substandard practices in its plant, such as allowing debris to enter the uncured tires, which causes the tire to separate during reasonably foreseeable use.

Failure to Warn Cases

A failure to warn case typically involves a claim that a product is dangerous because it does not contain warnings, instructions, or labels that apprise the user in regard to the dangers or proper uses of the product. A common example or a failure to warn claim would be where Ford failed to warn consumers of the likelihood of its vehicles, such as the Ford Escape and Ford Explorer, to rollover during reasonably foreseeable use.

Talk to a Georgia Defective Auto Products Attorney for Free

Call the attorneys at Werner Wetherington for a free and 100% confidential consultation. When you call, we conduct a thorough investigation from every angle. If we accept your case, you will never pay us a dime, unless and until we favorably resolve your case.

In some cases, you may not need an attorney. If that is the case, we will tell you. We will give you honest and direct advice. We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of integrity, honesty, professionalism, and competence.


[2] NHTSA Docket No.: NHTSA-1999-5572; Notice 2, October 1, 2003, p. 4 of 17. (Rollovers which resulted in tow-away crashes.) The number of rollovers have increased within the last ten years. In 1993, statistics from NASS and FARS revealed that approximately 228,000 light vehicles were involved in rollovers each year. See e.g., Data Link, Injuring Contacts in Light Vehicle Rollovers, prepared for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Crashworthiness Staff (1993). See also Friedman and Friedman, Improved Vehicle Design for the Prevention of Severe Head & Neck Injuries to Restrained Occupants in Rollover Accident, United States Paper No. 96-S5-0-14, 16th ESV Conf. (1996).