Automobiles have become more and more complex since their inception over a hundred years ago. Modern motor vehicles have thousands of moving, interlocking parts which working in sync with software to control a continuous stream of explosions that propel you down the road. Billions of dollars, and generations of brilliant individuals, have contributed to making your car as safe, reliable, and effective as possible. Despite these efforts, the shear number of parts and manufacturers nearly guarantees that occasionally a part will be defective. And unfortunately, these defective parts often lead to motor vehicles accidents.
Like all machines, sometimes your car breaks down; it's just a fact of life. Even with careful maintenance, your vehicle may decide on any random moment that it's not going to work that day. It’s a fact all of us car owners have accepted. But what about when your car’s defection is not caused by normal wear and tear? What about when the problem occurs due to events that took place before the odometer even ticked its first mile?
Manufacturers ResponsibilityAutomobile manufacturers have the responsibility of making sure that their vehicles are installed with quality parts and assembled in compliance with government safety standards. The automobile industry is quite profitable, but still they don't always do what is right. When companies cut corners, lives are put at risk.
A defective part could fail at any time. It could fail while you are slowly moving through a parking lot; or it could fail while you are driving in the rain, moving at highway speeds, or otherwise in a dangerous situation. If the defect does end up causing a problem at an inopportune time, the results could be catastrophic.
Determining LiabilityUnfortunately, in a majority of the cases, these defects remain undiscovered until after a serious accident takes place. Just last year, a whopping 7 million vehicles were recalled across the US because they were equipped with defective inflators and propellant devices manufactured by a Japanese supplier of air bags, Takata. The scariest part about the Takata defect is that the careless manufacturing caused metal fragments to explode with the airbag, leading to many crashes, injuries, and even deaths.
How to protect yourself from defective parts.The first step you can take is to do your research. Investigate the vehicle you are about to buy. Does it have any recalls? (Look up if your vehicle has a recall here.) Does it have any after-market, or custom components? Insist on seeing the maintenance records and confirm who installed the parts, and what brands of parts were used.
The next step is to keep maintenance records for yourself. Keep them in a folder, binder, or scanned to your computer…really however you prefer so long as it’s thorough. It's important to keep a detailed record of the work done on your vehicle. These documents will assist in pinning down what defect contributed/caused the accident. If you don’t have these, the potential defendants will have an opportunity to argue any number of defenses to protect themselves.
Getting the Right Help for Accidents Caused by Defective Parts
It's important to hire an experienced attorney early in the process to preserve evidence, evaluate all possible defendants, and maximize you chance for recovery. The right attorney will know the signs and issues to look for through experience on previous cases. They will have contacts with experts who can weigh in on the more technical aspects where their testimony may be necessary to convince a jury. And as mentioned, an experienced attorney will be able to evaluate your case for multiple liable parties.There may be multiple parties responsible in different ways for your accident. The right attorney can orchestrate your litigation to ensure justice is served. The wrong attorney may end up being just the latest faulty part to cause you harm.
by Jack Vasilaros