We place a great deal of trust in the integrity of our vehicles. Drivers often travel at high speeds on a regular basis without giving it a second thought.
Most of the time, this trust is well-founded. If we keep up with regular maintenance and inspection, we can usually rely on our vehicles to get us from point A to point B.
Sometimes, however, vehicles fail their drivers in unexpected ways. A tire blows out, brakes stop working, or the steering malfunctions. The result of these failures can be catastrophic.
For victims of accidents caused by mechanical defects, it is critical to consider how and why the accident took place. You may think it was a random occurrence or a stroke of bad luck, but there may be more to it. In some cases, these types of accidents happen because a parts manufacturer, mechanic, or other party was careless or negligent, putting you in a dangerous situation without you realizing it.
If you suspect a vehicle malfunction led to an accident in which you were injured or a loved one was hurt or killed, it is important to consider all of your legal options. A car accident lawyer at Colombo Law can review your case for free and advise you of your potential claims.
Defective Parts That Commonly Cause Accidents
Let’s start by reviewing the three types of product defects:
Design defects refer to a problem with how a part was designed before it was ever produced. The flawed design causes the product (such as a vehicle part) to fall below industry and safety standards.
Manufacturing defects, on the other hand, refer to errors in how a product was made. The plans for the product were sound, but somewhere in the manufacturing process the plans were not followed. As a result of errors during manufacturing and assembly, the product is defective
Inadequate Warning/Failure to Warn
Finally, failure to warn refers to a situation where the inherent dangers posed by a product are not sufficiently explained to consumers. Inadequate warnings can cause injury or death even if a product is used for its intended purpose.
What Defects Make Cars Unsafe?
When it comes to mechanical malfunctions that cause car accidents, the defects are usually one of the first two types. Design flaws and manufacturing errors may involve the following:
Tires, as we all know, are not cheap. We do what we can to extend the life of our tires.
Unfortunately, the durability claims of tires are often determined by manufacturers and may not be an accurate reflection of how long your tires are actually safe. Combine this with the fact that overly worn tires can lead to tread separation (which can lead to devastating accidents at high speeds), and it is clear how serious a defective tire can be.
Beyond manufacturer negligence, defective tires can also be caused by a tire company that installs the wrong tires on your vehicle or fails to mount the tires correctly, resulting in an accident.
As our cars become increasingly sophisticated, the types of errors that can happen continue to increase. When it comes to brakes, there can be errors in the hydraulic system (such as a brake fluid leak), in an electrical system (such as a malfunctioning brake light), or in a mechanical system (such as an inappropriate material used).
When a manufacturer or mechanic fails to take the appropriate caution when making or fixing your car’s brake system, it can lead to any number of problems that could cause a serious crash.
As with defective brakes, steering defects are extremely dangerous because they make it difficult – if not impossible – to control your vehicle. Even at low speeds, a design or manufacturing defect with your vehicle’s steering system could cause you to collide with another vehicle or a stationary object, resulting in serious injury, property damage, and more.
Car engines can vary greatly from one another, especially considering the emergence of electric vehicles. Regardless of the type of engine, however, design and manufacturing defects can result in stalls, fires, unintended downshifting, and other problems that can pose a serious risk to drivers.
Unfortunately, manufacturers are sometimes aware of these defects and choose not to remedy the situation due to the high cost of recalls. This can put the lives of unsuspecting motorists at risk.
Faulty Ignition and Fuel Systems
Defective ignition and fuel systems present a different problem than the defects discussed so far. Instead of increasing the risk of an accident, malfunctions of these systems can make a collision worse than it otherwise would have been.
For example, a faulty fuel system can cause a fuel leak after a collision. This can lead to a fire which could result in severe burn injuries. Hence, while the defect may not have caused the accident, it could be the cause of avoidable injuries and subsequent damages experienced by the accident victim.
Who Is Liable for a Defective Vehicle Accident?
Ultimately, defective vehicles can result from the negligence of vehicle manufacturers, parts manufacturers, mechanics, and others. As such, liability depends on the unique circumstances of each accident.
Determining the party or parties at fault is difficult without legal guidance. A knowledgeable attorney can build a strong case backed by evidence that clearly shows (a) how a vehicle defect or malfunction contributed to the accident and (b) how someone else’s negligence led to your losses.
Building an auto defect claim can be highly complex. It may require the assistance of expert mechanics who can analyze a vehicle after an accident to determine why, exactly, the accident happened.
Although pursuing fair compensation can be difficult, bringing a claim is worthwhile if it means obtaining the money you need to take back your life. The good news is that getting started will cost you nothing.
At Colombo Law, your initial case review is free. In addition, we make each client a No Fee Promise. You can rest assured that we will not charge you a penny in attorney fees unless and until we collect damages on your behalf.
Please call Colombo Law today at (304) 599-4229 to get started. Our auto defect attorneys serve clients in Morgantown and throughout West Virginia.