San Diego Auto Defect Attorney

The McClellan Law Firm enjoys a national reputation for excellence in client service in complex personal injury and wrongful death litigation of all kinds, but the greatest source of our success has been our work in automotive product liability. We have sued most of the car manufacturers in the world for serious claims ranging from defective seat belts to poor crashworthiness in a collision or rollover.

Attorney Craig McClellan has been recognized numerous times for his success in complex product liability cases, including being named San Diego Best Lawyers Product Liability Litigation Lawyer of the Year (2012, 2014 & 2019).

Extensive Experience Handling Auto Defect Cases

We at The McClellan Law Firm represent clients throughout Southern California in product liability litigation against auto manufacturers in cases where a serious or fatal motor vehicle accident was caused by a dangerous defect in design or construction. We also handle cases where the defective component or system was not the direct cause of the accident, but instead resulted in injuries or death that would not have occurred otherwise.

Examples of the kinds of cases our attorneys accept include:
  • Seat belt failure, airbag failure, or both
  • Lack of an electronic stability control (ESC) system
  • SUV rollovers caused by the vehicle's inherent instability
  • Defects in exotic autos, race cars, or high-performance models
  • Roof crush injuries caused by inadequate structural support
  • Car fires caused or worsened by a defective fuel line or gas tank design
  • Head, face and eye injuries caused by defective auto windshield or window glass
  • Sudden acceleration, in which the vehicle speeds or lurches forward
  • Tire defects such as tread separation, belt edge detachment, or tire bead explosion
  • Transmission defects, in which a car in park or neutral suddenly slips into a forward gear

Our familiarity with automotive defect claims gives our clients a substantial if obvious advantage: Instead of assuming that the other driver's insurance limits (together with your own underinsured motorist coverage) represent the upper limit of what we can recover for you, we regard that figure as a point of departure.

Our Approach to Defective Motor Vehicle Claims

If we take on your case, we will carefully analyze the circumstances of your accident to see whether it would have been less severe if the safety systems of every vehicle involved had performed properly. In cases where our experience and work with forensic consultants indicate a strong likelihood of liability on the part of a manufacturer, we stand an excellent chance of achieving a settlement or jury verdict for the full amount of your damages, without regard for the limits of any driver's insurance coverage. Automotive defect claims represent the largest single category of the $250 million that we have recovered over the years.

For additional information about our ability to represent your interests in a defective auto components case, contact our office for a free consultation with a San Diego auto defect attorney.


  • “Having had the high privilege of presiding over a number of cases involving national counsel, I want you to know you’re one of the very best [...]. You and those with you were outstanding ambassadors for our profession and once again made me most proud to be a part of our legal community.”

  • “I thank you for your kindness and generosity in giving selflessly without reserve. Additionally, please extend my thanks to your staff for their diligent work and encouragement throughout the trial.”

    - A.D.

  • “We do not quite know how to verbalize or show how grateful we are to have had the distinct honor to have you represent us at truly the most critical time in our lives.”

    - S.C.

  • “I just wanted to thank you for your efforts on [Pam’s] behalf, your skills, and your heart. You are not just a lawyer in what you do, you are a master of your profession. And I hope you are passing your mastery to others who may stand in on behalf of the weak or the helpless. It is an honorable effort and a world of mercy. I saw the extreme and extended dedication you put forth yield the best possible results on [Pam’s] behalf.”

    - Juror

  • “Immediately after our interview we knew without question that no matter how steep the mountain, win or lose, we had found the right person—Craig McClellan, Esq.—[…] We felt a profound sense of peacefulness whenever we came into the office, and we knew that you were protecting our interests at all time.”

    - G.P.

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