Monday, September 25, 2017
Accidents Caused by Defective Parts: Determining Liability
Automobiles have become extremely complex machines. Modern motor vehicles have thousands of moving, interlocking parts which working in sync with software to control a continuous stream of explosions to propel you down the road. Billions of dollars and generations of brilliant individuals have all been spent to make your car as safe, reliable, and effective as possible.
And like all machines, sometimes your car breaks down. That’s just the fact of life. Even with careful maintenance, your sedan may decide one Monday morning that he’s not going to work today. That’s a fact all of us car owners have accepted. But what about when your car’s defection from normal operation is not normal? What about when the problem occurs due to steps taken before the odometer even ticked over its first mile?
Automobile 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 when companies cut corners lives are put at risk. A defective part may fail at any time. Cruising home from work in the rain, or flying off to vacation on the highway at 70 mph. Sometimes, the defect causes a problem at the most inopportune time. When breaks fail, or an airbag shoots shrapnel upon deployment, the results will be catastrophic.
Unfortunately, in a majority of the cases these defects remain undiscovered until after the fatal accident take place. Just last year, a were recalled across the US because they were equipped with defective inflator and propellant devices manufactured by a Japanese supplier of air bags, Takata. Since these parts were deployed improperly, they shot metal fragments into occupants, causing further injuries during a crash.
Once it became evident that Takata was at-fault, claims were made by injured parties. However, a vehicle parts manufacturer is not always liable for damages. Generally, a vehicle part defect causes harm to a person in two ways – it can directly be the cause of an accident, like an engine failure or tire blowout, or it can aggravate the injuries during an accident, like malfunctioning seat belts or airbags.
In such cases, multiple parties can be held liable for bodily injuries and property damage. You can file a product liability lawsuit or personal injury claim against a part manufacturer, vehicle manufacturer, safety certification company, dealership, or even a mechanic shop that repaired or installed the defective part in your vehicle. It all depends on the evidence proving what happened, who was involved, and how they behaved.
This is easier said than done. The first step you can take is to do you research. Investigate the vehicle you are about to buy. Does it have numerous recalls? 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. Folder, binder, or scanned to your computer…really however you prefer so long as it’s thorough. It is 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 it was your lack of maintenance that caused the problem.
Getting the Right Help
It is 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 know the experts to call and weigh in on the more technical aspects where their testimony may be necessary to pin the liable party down. 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 the newest faulty part to cause you harm.
If you have been involved in an accident due to a faulty part, you should consider discussing your case with the experienced attorneys at Dolman Law. You can send an email to one of our attorneys directly at , call him at 727-455-9400, or visit our to chat with us online.