A questioner asks: 4 months ago, I bought a new car from the showroom, and a month ago I had an accident that resulted in serious injuries to my friend who was with me in the car, as it was revealed by the police expert that the airbags that were supposed to be there to protect the driver and front passenger do not work and that is why my friend suffered these severe injuries.
My question is, do I legally have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the car agency to claim material compensation for all the damages, and can the agency be forced to replace the car with a new one because of this defect in the car? Please advise.
To answer this question, I would advise the questioner that:
Articles 543 and what follows of the Civil Transactions Law assures that the sale shall be considered concluded, on basis that the thing sold is free from defects other than those customarily tolerated, so if an old defect appears in the thing sold, the purchaser shall be at option either to restitute it, or accept it at the nominated price.
The defect is considered old if it was existing in the thing sold before sale, or happened after sale while still under the control of the seller before delivery.
The defect occurring upon purchase shall be considered as old if based on a previously existing cause in the thing sold while in the hands of the vendor. The old defect is conditioned upon being occult.
A defect is occult when it cannot be discovered by normal look on the outward appearance of the thing sold, detected by an ordinary person, discovered only by an expert or does not show except by practice.
If the thing sold perishes due to an old defect, while in the hands of the purchaser or consumed it before taking knowledge of the defect, he shall take action against the vendor for deduction of the value of such defect.
Noting that the lawsuit in warrant of the defect is not receivable due to prescription occurring after the lapse of six months as of taking delivery of the thing sold, unless the seller binds himself for a longer period. If it has been proved that hiding the defect was by fraud imputed to the seller, then in this case the warranty claim will be heard even after the lapse of six months from the date of delivery of the sold item.
Based on the above, since the questioner bought the car 4 months before the accicdent took place, the car had an old, hidden defect affecting its value, he did not discover when he bought and he would not have bought it for the price he paid had he knew about this defect at the time of purchase, and since the car is not perished in the hands of the questioner and the defect that might have occurred by the accident ceases to exist, then the questioner has the right to recourse to the seller (the car showroom) either by asking him to return the car and recover the price he paid to the showroom, or to keep the car and accept it at the nominated price by deducting part of the price in exchange for the existence of the defect.
In both cases, the questioner may, in addition to that, claim the compensation for the damage that he suffered as a result of the presence of this hidden defect.