Is a dangerous car trunk that caused injury grounds for a lawsuit?

The car we own has an incredibly heavy trunk that closes with a dangerous amount of force. Today when loading groceries into the car, it closed on its own and hit my back/hip with such force that I can barely walk. I have an appointment with urgent care tomorrow but I am so angry that this equipment was designed in such a way. If my 3 year old son had been in its path, it might have killed him. Is this design flaw/issue grounds for the car manufacturer to recall the vehicles affected and/or lawsuit?

Asked on September 23, 2017 under Personal Injury, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

First, what "could" have happened to your son is not relevant: the law only deals in what did happen, not what might have.
Second, when talking about a possible design flaw, your opinion, as a layperson, as to whether something is badly designed is also not relevant: you lack the training, education, and experience to offer an informed opinion. Only if an automotive engineer or safety expert thought the design was dangerous might you have a case.
Third, you can only sue for actual medical costs and injuries. If, as we hope, you are not badly hurt, then even if the trunk was badly designed, there would be no point in suing: a product liability suit like this can be very expensive, due to the necessity of hiring an expert to examine the car, write a report, and testify, so if you are not badly hurt, with injuries disabling you for months or longer and/or very large medical bills, you could spend more on the lawsuit than you would ever get back.

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