Auto Defect




An odometer with the engine light on.

Navigating the aftermath of an auto defect can be an incredibly daunting experience. People rely on their vehicle to travel safely every single day. However, automobile manufacturers often sell vehicles that have defects that can lead to injuries or death.

Our commitment to justice has not only helped countless individuals and families through their darkest hours but has also contributed to safer roads by holding manufacturers accountable. If you suspect that an auto defect has caused your injury or loss, allow Ellis Riccobono, LLP, to be your advocate, fighting for the compensation and closure you deserve.

Common Auto Defects

An automotive defect can be undetected during the manufacturing process. Some vehicles have inherent faults that may not be uncovered until a collision.

Below are some common automobile defects:

  • AIRBAG FAILURE: Airbags can help to minimize injuries and reduce fatalities. We all expect our airbags to protect us in a collision, but if the airbags fail to deploy in a collision, the injuries may be severe.
  • SEATBELT FAILURE: Seatbelt failures may occur if the latch or retractor fail. When this happens the seatbelt would not prevent the occupant from striking an object in front of them, whether that’s the steering wheel, dashboard, or seat in front of him or her. Such failure can also lead to the occupants’ ejection from the vehicle.
  • SEAT BACK FAILURE: Some automobile manufacturers attempt to cut corners and make seats as cheaply as possible. However, this may cause a seat to collapse, injuring the person sitting in the seat or falling back and on top of other occupants in an accident. This can be extremely dangerous not only for the person in the seat that fails but also for anyone sitting in the back seat.
  • ROLLOVERS: A dangerous vehicle design can lead to a vehicle being prone to rollover. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, SUVs were involved in 36 percent of the rollover-related deaths in the United States, more than any other type of vehicle.
  • ROOF CRUSH: In the event of a rollover accident, the roof of a vehicle should be strong enough to withstand a certain amount of force, protecting the occupants from further injury. When the roof of a vehicle is not enforced, it can lead to serious injuries or even death.


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*Disclaimer: This website is an advertisement as defined by the California Rules of Professional Conduct and the California Business and Professions Code. ELLIS RICCOBONO, LLP is licensed to practice law in the State of California, Hawaii, and Federal Courts, where admitted. In certain cases, we have represented individuals in other states/jurisdictions by way of pro hac vice. The content of this website is intended to convey general information. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. It is not an offer to represent you, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

Automotive defects extend into areas not always visible or considered until an unfortunate incident reveals their severity.

These can include:

  • Electrical System Failures: Modern vehicles rely heavily on their electrical systems for safety features, engine performance, and overall functionality. Electrical faults, such as faulty wiring or malfunctioning control units, can lead to unexpected vehicle behaviors or disable essential safety systems.
  • Engine and Transmission Problems: Defects in the engine or transmission can not only impair the vehicle’s performance but also pose significant safety risks. Issues like sudden loss of power, unintended acceleration, or transmission lock-up can lead to dangerous situations on the road.
  • Structural Integrity Flaws: The structural design of a vehicle plays a crucial role in protecting occupants during a crash. Manufacturing shortcuts or design oversights can compromise a vehicle’s structural integrity, leading to increased injury risk in the event of an accident.
  • Fuel System Defects: Leaks or faults within the fuel system can increase the risk of fire, especially after a collision. Defective fuel pumps, lines, or tanks are particularly hazardous and require immediate attention.
  • Defective Braking Systems: The ability to stop safely is paramount. Faulty brake components, such as the brake line, pads, or rotors, can significantly increase the risk of a crash. We also handle cases involving anti-lock brake system (ABS) failures.
  • Faulty Steering Components: A vehicle’s steering system must respond accurately to the driver’s inputs. Defects in steering components can lead to loss of control, making it difficult or impossible to navigate safely.
  • Visibility Issues: Defects affecting visibility, such as malfunctioning windshield wipers or inadequate lighting, can severely compromise the driver’s ability to see road conditions, obstacles, or other vehicles, especially under adverse weather conditions.

If you suspect your accident was caused by a defect not listed or want to understand more about your legal rights and options, we are here to offer expert guidance and representation.

Handling a Auto Defect Case – Handling an auto defect case involves several critical steps, from initial investigation to potential litigation. At Ellis Riccobono, LLP, we provide comprehensive support through each phase of this process, ensuring that our clients receive the expert guidance and representation they need. Here’s an overview of how we handle auto defect cases and the unique advantages we offer to our clients:

Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation – The process begins with a detailed discussion about your situation. We review the circumstances of your accident, the injuries sustained, and any evidence you have regarding the auto defect. This initial evaluation is crucial for understanding the viability of your claim. We offer this consultation free of charge, providing you with a clear understanding of your legal options without any obligation.

Investigation and Evidence CollectionOur team conducts a thorough investigation to gather all relevant evidence. This includes obtaining vehicle maintenance records, accident reports, and expert analyses of the vehicle to identify the defect. With access to a network of automotive experts and investigators, we can uncover critical evidence that supports your claim. Our experience in these matters allows us to identify the most persuasive evidence to build your case.

Identifying Responsible Parties – We determine all parties potentially liable for the defect, which may include:

  • the vehicle manufacturer
  • parts manufacturers
  • dealerships or maintenance providers

Identifying and holding all responsible parties accountable increases the potential sources of compensation for your damages, ensuring that no avenue for recovery is overlooked.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies and Defendants – We engage in negotiations with insurance companies and defendants to seek a fair settlement that covers your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our skilled negotiators advocate on your behalf, leveraging the evidence and legal precedents to maximize your compensation without the need for a trial.

Litigation and Trial – If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we are prepared to take your case to trial. Our legal team will present your case, argue on your behalf, and work tirelessly to achieve a favorable verdict. Our attorneys are experienced litigators with a proven track record in court. We are committed to representing your interests passionately and effectively, utilizing our legal expertise to argue your case before a judge and jury.

Why Choose Ellis Riccobono, LLP?

With Ellis Riccobono, LLP, you gain access to a team that is not only skilled in the law but also deeply empathetic to the challenges you face. We are here to navigate the legal system on your behalf, allowing you to focus on your recovery while we focus on securing the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you with your auto defect case.