The Growth of Class Action Lawsuits in Alabama Auto Product Liability Cases

Class action lawsuits related to auto product liability have been on the rise in Alabama in recent years. Plaintiffs have filed these lawsuits against major automakers as well as parts suppliers, alleging design flaws, manufacturing defects, or failure to warn about known dangers with vehicles or components. Several factors have contributed to the increase in these types of class action cases in the state.

More Law Firms Focusing on Class Actions

One reason for the growth is that more law firms in Alabama have been devoting resources to pursuing class action lawsuits. These complex cases require substantial upfront resources for investigation, expert witnesses, discovery, and legal fees. Traditionally, only larger firms could take on the risk and costs. But now, more small and mid-sized firms have been teaming up on class actions to pool resources and share expenses. This has expanded the capacity for initiating more class actions in the auto product liability arena.

Advances in Legal Strategy

Attorneys have also gotten more sophisticated in how they construct and argue auto product liability class actions. They have learned how to frame their legal arguments and discovery requests in ways that can aid in achieving class certification. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have also become more adept at using legal precedents from successful cases in other jurisdictions to support their positions. These improving legal strategies have paved the way for more class actions to proceed.

More Potential Class Members Coming Forward

Plaintiffs’ attorneys have also been successful in spreading awareness about pending and potential class actions. Websites, lawyer advertising, and other marketing approaches have led more potential class members around the state to come forward. When more consumers are willing to participate, it makes it easier to meet requirements like numerosity for certifying a class. And when class certification is achieved, it puts more pressure on defendants to settle rather than risk massive damages or liability at trial.

Failures to Disclose Known Defects

Some trends in the auto industry have also fed the rise in class actions. For example, there have been various high-profile cases in recent years where manufacturers allegedly failed to properly disclose known defects. These have included issues like defective Takata airbags and GM ignition switches. When large numbers of consumers are put at risk by a company failing to reveal known dangers, it invites a class action response. Alabama has seen several cases based on these sorts of defects.

Newer Types of Defect Allegations

Additionally, the increasing use of technology in vehicles has led to new types of alleged defects being pursued through class actions. For instance, there have been recent lawsuits related to defective touchscreen systems, autonomous driving sensors, and electric vehicle batteries. As vehicles rely more heavily on technology like this, one flaw can impact huge numbers of consumers, making class actions an attractive option. Alabama has already seen class actions against most major automakers related to tech defects.

Higher Damage Awards

There is also a perception that courts and juries in Alabama have become more willing to award significant damages in product liability cases. Some recent major verdicts have made class actions more appealing to plaintiffs’ attorneys since huge damage awards can be achieved. Even if most cases settle out of court, higher verdicts in a few cases signal that there is more potential upside in pursuing class actions. Defendants also take the possibility of massive damages into account when deciding whether to settle a case.

More Vigorous Regulatory Oversight

Finally, there has been increased federal regulatory scrutiny of the auto industry following high-profile safety issues over the last decade. Regulators have demanded more recalls, levied larger penalties, and subjected automakers to tighter requirements. Plaintiffs can use regulatory violations and recalls as evidence to support product liability class actions. Stricter oversight provides additional incentives and tools for pursuing these lawsuits.

Looking ahead, the trend of increasing class action lawsuits related to auto product liability does not appear likely to reverse course any time soon. Consumers in Alabama and elsewhere who have been impacted by defective vehicles will continue seeking accountability through the courts. Anyone who has been injured or suffered losses related to an unsafe vehicle should consider contacting an attorney to understand their rights and options.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in an auto accident, the experienced attorneys at Monge & Associates are here to help. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation on (888) 477-0597.

We have successfully represented clients in recovering compensation for injuries and damages stemming from auto product defects and failures, and have 32 offices in 19 states, including Alabama, Illinois, and Washington. Our team has the resources and expertise to stand up to large automakers and suppliers.