Products Liability Lawyer in South Carolina: Understanding Auto Defects

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Many of us rely on cars or other vehicles to get where we need to go on a daily basis. While we may not often think about it, driving requires putting a tremendous amount of trust in automakers that the vehicle we're in has been created safely, and that all of the components will work together properly so long as we provide some routine maintenance. However, when something goes wrong due to an auto defect, the results can be disastrous.

At Hopkins Law Firm, our product liability lawyers for auto defects in South Carolina understand what it takes to prove an auto defects case. We have successfully helped many clients win their case. Call us at or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and learn more.

What Constitutes a Motor Vehicle Defect in South Carolina

Motor vehicle defects, or just simply auto defects, constitute all types of motor vehicles, like:

  • Trucks
  • Cars
  • Motorcycles
  • Other vehicles

Every manufacturer and dealer provides a warranty to consumers that the vehicle they purchase is safe and meets all state and federal regulations. Sometimes, though, a designer or manufacturer makes a mistake, which can include poor materials, wrong parts, wrongly-made parts, technical errors, and more. These mistakes can lead to property damage and bodily harm to the user and others. 

When damages result from an auto defect, you are entitled to compensation, and this is usually obtained through a product liability lawsuit. 

Examples of Auto Defects Found in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Pawleys Island 

Proving an auto defect can be very difficult, as it will often involve tracking down a list of expert witnesses who can speak to proper car design and production, as well as someone who can explain how the defect led to a given accident. 

The exact proof necessary will also depend on the type of auto defect case. Recent auto defect cases have involved airbags, seatbelts, brakes, tires, windshields, and windows.

Airbag Defects

While drivers hope that an airbag never needs to be deployed, they are a lifesaving technology that can help to blunt the impact of an accident. However, if they don't deploy during an accident or don't deploy like they should have, an accident that only would have led to minor injuries can quickly become catastrophic.

Seat Belt Defects

Seat belts are another component of a vehicle's safety system that drivers hope never gets tested to the limit of what they are designed to do. But again, if seat belts fail to lock in tight during a collision, what should have been a relatively manageable car accident can become a life-threatening situation.

Faulty Brakes

Being able to safely navigate a car obviously requires the use of a functioning brake system. With regular maintenance, brakes should typically work as they are supposed to. However, on rare occasions, brakes may fail due to an auto defect, which can lead to high-speed collisions with fixed objects, other vehicles, or even pedestrians. 


Tire pressure is a basic component of vehicle maintenance. When you notice that you tend to have poor tire pressure, it could be a sign of a defective tire. Misaligned suspensions and defective suspensions lead to uneven tires, which in turn can lead to uneven wear and a blowout.

Windshields & Windows

Windshields are critical to the structural integrity of your vehicle, especially when in a front-end or rollover accident. If they are defective, this can lead to serious harm if in one of these or any other type of auto accident. If you notice your windshield is easily damaged by debris or appears distorted in any way, it may be defective. The same is true for windows, which should freely be able to roll up and down and lay snug against the rubber stoppers on the door.

Liability for Car Crashes in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Pawleys Island Caused by Auto Defects

Determining the cause of the accident is critical in an automobile defect personal injury claim. Depending on the actual cause, there could be one or more individuals and/or entities held liable for all economic and non-economic damages. In some limited cases, punitive damages may be awarded.

If a defect causes an auto accident, a range of people and/or entities could ultimately be responsible and held liable for damages. 

  • The car or auto part designer can be held liable for a defect when there's an actual problem with the design of the product.
  • The vehicle or auto part manufacturer can be held liable for defects that occur while making the automobile or auto part.
  • Shippers and transporters of automobiles or auto parts can be liable for a defect when they damage the product while it's in their custody and is their responsibility.
  • Car dealers can be liable for defective old and new automobiles when they breach their duty to inspect (and repair, if necessary) all vehicles before they sell them.
  • Mechanics can also be liable in car defect cases when, for example, they fail to identify a defective part after an inspection or fail to fix a defect upon request.
  • Drivers can also be liable if they knew about but did not timely have the defect fixed. 

Consequences of an Auto Defect

Depending on the exact circumstances of how an accident occurs, injuries can range from relatively minor to fatal. The three most common injuries caused by auto defects are head, neck, and burn injuries. 

Head Injuries

Safety mechanisms like airbags and seatbelts are designed to keep a driver or passenger stable and cushion the blow of a high-speed impact. When these fail to operate as they should, a driver or passenger's head can collide with another object or the ground at dangerously high speeds.

Neck Injuries

Similarly, when the car's safety mechanisms don't work as they should and the head is thrown about at high speeds, the driver or passenger's neck can be impacted as well. The milder form of this is commonly known as whiplash, but the potential neck or spinal cord injuries can be much more serious.

Burn Injuries

Any collision runs the risk of a fire or explosion given the flammability of the gasoline cars run on. This risk can be enhanced if there is a defect with a vehicle's fuel system.

Five Reasons to Hire a Product Liability Attorney for an Auto Defect in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Pawleys Island

Determining and proving liability in an auto defect case can be particularly difficult given the expertise it requires. It can not be understated the benefit you will receive, but here are just five of those benefits.

  1. The value of an experienced negotiator can result in a maximum settlement, meaning you can avoid trial.
  2. We have the resources necessary to retain the experts needed to prove your case.
  3. You will receive solid representation in court if your case goes before a judge and/or jury.
  4. You will not have to worry about understanding the law or adhering to deadlines because we know the law and heed all deadlines.
  5. You get to heal and get back to your life while we take care of the legal parts.

Hiring a product liability attorney for an auto defect case gives you the best possible shot at receiving fair compensation for your injuries.

Contact an Auto Defect Liability Attorney in South Carolina

At Hopkins Law Firm, our auto defect lawyers in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Pawleys Island havehelped clients file successful auto defect lawsuits, and we can help you. Call us at or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Principled. Practical. Personal.

When you have to go to court, you want to know your lawyer will fight for you so you get the best possible outcome. Here at Hopkins Law Firm, our team of personal injury, family law, and criminal defense lawyers has the experience and insights needed to help you present your best case. Our team has helped many clients to protect their future. With locations in Charleston, Pawleys Island, and Myrtle Beach, we can make sure you get the counsel you need anywhere in South Carolina.