Can I Sue Over Defective 3D Printed Car Parts?

Ordering auto parts online has become so easy that even a non-mechanic can do it. It didn’t use to be this way. In years past, you would need to take the broken part to an auto parts store and find a match that worked for your car. Unfortunately, the pandemic put a squeeze on the availability of some parts. This meant finding what you needed in-store or online was more difficult. Then the opportunists stepped in and said, “Hey, we have a solution. We can 3D print your part.”

Sure, 3D-printed parts filled the void created by manufacturers failing to process orders for consumers. But who is liable when component parts fail after they are installed in vehicles? Those individuals printing parts are akin to modern-day snake oil salesmen. They will argue that their 3D printed part is just as good, safe, or equivalent to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) part. It’s at a fraction of the price. If you want a 3D printed shot glass or pencil holder, buy one…but when offered 3D printed auto parts…run away. Your safety is not worth risking.

Those 3D-printed parts are not tested for quality, and no research and development to support the merchantability of those printed parts. A design code is downloaded from the internet and fed into a computer. The code instructs the printer how to shape the item. And most likely, no application test results are given to show how the part works under load pressure. When the item is installed in place of an actual auto part, it will experience heat/cold, grease, chemical fluids, and motion. All of which can lead to catastrophic failure.

Let’s delve into the types of legal liability that exist for 3D Printed Parts:

  • Breach of Warranty – was a warranty expressed or implied regarding the part in question?
  • Defective Design – how was the part designed? Did it meet all testing requirements?
  • Inadequate Instructions – were instructions or warnings stated?

So can you sue over 3D Printed car parts?

As is always the case, it depends. These cases are growing as the popularity and convenience of 3D printing become mainstream. Unfortunately, they are not always open/shut cases. And proving the design was defective when it left the care of the creator or retailer can be a challenge. Also, it may be a challenge to prove the producer of a 3D printed part was in the business of selling when they could just be a tinkerer or hobbyist.

Lastly, think about the collectability of the seller of a 3D-printed part. Are they insured? Are they as financially stable as Ford, GM, or Mercedes?

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence in Merrillville, Crown Point, Gary, Hammond, Highland, Portage, Valparaiso, or in Lake or Porter County, or any part of northwest Indiana, contact our firm for help. We put our experience and resources to work for car crash injury victims throughout northwest Indiana with one objective: maximizing your compensation.

The Law Offices of David W. Holub is a personal injury law firm located in Merrillville, Indiana, focused on providing efficient and effective client-centered representation. Our mission is to provide an uncompromising pursuit of our client’s legal interests while being accessible and attentive to our clients during times of personal challenge.

The firm concentrates on personal injury cases, medical malpractice, and wrongful death litigation. We work tirelessly to serve each client aggressively and with empathy, communicate regularly and clearly, and obtain prompt and favorable results while adhering to the highest standards of excellence and integrity. Our team considers it a high honor to be called upon to serve our clients, whom we often regard as friends. Call our number (219)736-9700 for assistance today.

*If you would like to learn more about personal injury law, we encourage you to listen to our Personal Injury Primer Podcast where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law. And read “Fighting for Truth: A Trial Lawyer’s Insight into What It Takes to Win,” an entertaining and enlightening book pulling readers into the courtroom, giving them a glimpse of the legal process and what it takes to win at trial.

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