Filing a Lawsuit for Defective Auto Parts

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has utilized the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act since 1966. The act has been used to hold vehicle manufacturers responsible for the production of their products. Further, it is used to ensure that there are safety standards to institute a recall on vehicles or vehicle parts that are deemed defective. Since the implementation of this act, there have been about 400 million recalls on vehicles, about 50 million recalls on tires, and about 70 million recalls on defective auto parts.

In accordance to the United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety, the term defect refers to:

Any vehicle product and/or part that is defective in its component, performance, material, or construction of the vehicle itself or its equipment.

Having such defects in a vehicle can create risks to the driver, his or her passengers, and everyone on the road. If you or someone you know has been injured due to a defect in a vehicle or its parts, consider speaking to a qualified car accident attorney. An attorney with the right knowledge and experience can help you recover for the grievances you have suffered due to the vehicle’s defect(s). You may be entitled to receive compensation for the injuries you sustained as well as for any punitive damages that may arise due to the vehicle’s defect(s).

Understanding the Different Types of Vehicle Product Defects

Generally, there are two methods in which a vehicle or vehicle product can be labeled as defective:

  • Through the vehicle’s manufacturing process
    • When a vehicle has been labeled as defective through its manufacturing process, this typically means that only that vehicle has been declared defective, not the entire line of vehicle models.
    • This will also usually mean that a single part of the vehicle has been declared defective.
    • When a vehicle or its part has been declared defective by means of the manufacturing process, it usually happens as there has been a failure in the discovery of a faulty piece.
    • It can also happen if there has been a failure in inspecting the vehicle or vehicle part.
  • Through the faulty design of a car
    • The faulty design of the vehicle will be regarded as defective.
    • In this scenario, the entire line of cars with the same design will be regarded as defective.
    • The defective design of the vehicle will mean that it places vehicle drivers and/ or their passengers in an unreasonable risk.

Many vehicle components and/or vehicle equipment could be labeled as defective. The following list includes some of the most common defects in a vehicle:

  • Defective engine cooling fans
  • Defective vehicle brakes
  • A vehicle’s wiring system that has increased the vehicle’s chance of combustion
  • A leakage to the vehicle’s fuel system or its components
  • Defective tires
  • Faulty accelerator controls
  • Flawed gas tanks
  • Defective vehicle airbags
  • Faulty seat belts

Filing a Claim for a Defective Auto Part

When a vehicle is being manufactured, there are several mechanisms within the supply chain that could be held responsible for the defectiveness of a vehicle part caused harm. If you or someone you know was in a car accident due to a defective part or design of a vehicle, you have the legal right to file a lawsuit for the injuries you sustained. Finding the negligent party will greatly depend on the nature of the defect. An attorney can investigate the matter and determine possible factors that may have led to the accident.

Product liability is the legally binding responsibilities that a vehicle manufacturer owes to a consumer. These manufacturers owe consumers a product that is safe for average use.

When seeking to file a claim against a manufacturer for a defective vehicle or its part(s), the following are possible defendants to the claim:

  • The vehicle manufacturer
    • The vehicle’s manufacturer should always be considered when filing a claim.
    • When there is a defect in a vehicle, there are some cases in which more than one company or manufacturer could be held responsible.
    • In other instances, a vehicle manufacturer has failed the consumer by not issuing a reasonable recall notice.
    • The vehicle manufacturer may also have installed the auto part incorrectly, leading to the malfunction.
  • The vehicle parts manufacturer
    • Vehicle manufacturers use different companies that produce the different parts of the vehicle. The manufacturer of the faulty vehicle part could be held responsible if you have suffered injuries because of it.
    • Flaws in design or the construction process can cause potentially harmful defects in auto parts.
  • The Middleman
    • Any person, company, manufacturer, or party involved in the distribution process could be held responsible for the injuries you have sustained.
    • An example of a middleman could be the shipping company that was responsible for holding the vehicle parts while in production.

Seeking Justice for Accidents Caused by Defective Auto Parts

In any vehicle accident case, the cause behind the collision needs to be examined closely in order to determine who or what party needs to be held responsible. When examining the collision, it is possible that there may be more than one manufacturer or other party responsible for the defective vehicle or defective vehicle part.

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries due to a defective vehicle or defective vehicle part, you should know that you have the legal right to file a products liability claim. Speak to a car accident lawyer who can guide you through the process of filing for a claim. An experienced attorney will help champion for your rights.