Can I sue a car manufacturer for my truck catching fire due to an Electrical Malfunction?

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Can I sue a car manufacturer for my truck catching fire due to an Electrical Malfunction?

I have a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. I’ve had nothing but electrical
problems with it since I got it 4 years ago. On March 5, 2016 while I was driving
home with my son, smoke started to come out of the dashboard where the TV is
located, right after the smoke started coming out I heard a spark and my right
foot started to feel hot, I looked down and notice flames coming from the bottom
of the dashboard. I right away pulled over and got my son and myself out. I
called 911 and the firefighters arrived soon after, by the time they got there
the whole inside of my truck was completely burned. Firefighters said that it was
an electrical malfunction that caused the fire and that my truck was a total
loss. My insurance carrier didn’t cover me and at this point I don’t know what
other options I have.

Asked on April 15, 2016 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the manufacturer and the seller (dealership where you purchased the truck) for negligence and strict liability.
Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable manufacturer would have exercised to produce a product that is not defective.  The dealer is liable even if the dealer could not have known tha the truck was defective.
Strict liability imposes liability whether or not due care was exercised.  Negligence and strict liability are separate causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be for the loss of your truck.
You will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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