Consumer Perceptions and Vehicle Product Liability in Nebraska: How Safety Reputations Impact Automakers

Automotive product liability is an important issue for both consumers and automakers in Nebraska. With new vehicle technologies continuously entering the market, there are often questions around safety and liability when defects lead to accidents and injuries. In this article, we’ll explore how consumer perceptions of automaker safety reputations can impact sales and litigation in Nebraska specifically.

How Safety Ratings Influence Purchasing Decisions

Many consumers put significant weight on safety ratings when shopping for a new vehicle. Ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and other organizations can greatly influence sales. Vehicles with poor crash test results or rollover ratings tend to see decreased demand, while top safety picks enjoy stronger sales.

This is especially true for family vehicles like SUVs and minivans. Safety-focused advertising and marketing campaigns also aim to build a reputation for safety leadership in the minds of consumers. For automakers, investing in safety provides benefits beyond protecting occupants. It’s a way to gain a competitive edge by instilling confidence and trust in buyers.

Legal Liability When Design Defects Cause Injury

While automakers may advertise safety, sometimes defects lead to accidents and injury lawsuits. In these cases, complex questions of legal liability arise under product liability laws. Plaintiffs must prove a design defect made the vehicle unreasonably dangerous, and this caused injury. With modern vehicle systems, technical expertise is required to demonstrate flaws versus compliance with regulations.

For automakers, past safety issues can also resurface in litigation. Look no further than the major General Motors ignition switch recall involving defects linked to over 120 fatalities. GM’s knowledge and handling of the defects long before the recalls resulted in a massive financial settlement for victims and their families. The inherent risks of defects like this continue to make product liability a top concern for automakers today.

Nebraska’s Product Liability Laws and Statutes of Limitations

Nebraska product liability laws follow a negligence standard, requiring proof of a manufacturer’s unreasonably dangerous defect and causation of injury. Lawsuits must also be brought timely under the statutes of limitations:

  • Personal injury claims: 4 years from the date of injury
  • Wrongful death claims: 2 years from the date of death
  • Property damage claims: 4 years from the date the damage occurred

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies safety issues and can coordinate recalls if defects meet certain criteria. However, consumers should not rely solely on the NHTSA and should consult an attorney if they are harmed by a potential defect. Identifying negligent actions by automakers takes legal skill, resources, and the ability to act quickly within the time limits.

Building a Reputation for Safety in Nebraska

There are over 1.7 million registered vehicles traveling Nebraska’s vast roads and highways each year. For top automakers, the Nebraska market represents an opportunity to build brand awareness and loyalty over many years. This includes building a reputation as an industry safety leader.

Companies like Volvo and Subaru have taken perception-changing approaches to frame safety as a key brand attribute. Features like crash avoidance technology, airbag improvements, and advanced driver aids can demonstrate real-world commitment. Effective safety marketing reaches consumers on an emotional level at the exact moment of vehicle selection.

Once again, perceptions of safety leadership can pay dividends far beyond the showroom. Future product liability claims and lawsuits are an unfortunate reality, even for automakers who invest heavily in safety. However, a proven track record and reputation for safety engineering can provide some defense against allegations of negligence in design.

The Role of Legal Counsel After an Automotive Injury

Consumers have a reasonable expectation that the vehicles they buy will provide protection in crashes. When defective designs result in severe or fatal injuries, holding automakers accountable is complex. While some cases do settle out of court, litigation pitting consumers against large auto corporations’ legal teams demands trial-tested experience. An attorney with proven expertise both in and out of the courtroom in automotive product liability cases can make all the difference in seeking fair compensation.

If you or a loved one have been involved in an automotive accident involving a potential defect, contact the legal team at Monge & Associates today. Our firm has successfully represented Nebraska clients against automakers and recovered compensation for injuries in product liability claims. With established local expertise in automotive litigation and 32 offices across 19 states, including Nebraska, Kansas, and Illinois, we are well-placed to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys can thoroughly evaluate your case at no charge and help you understand your options. You deserve justice.

Call now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597.