How to Recognize a Defective Steering Wheel
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Nancy J. Winkler with Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C..
The steering system in a vehicle is one of the most important parts of not only its ability to function as intended but for the safety of the driver and passengers as well. A broken or defective steering wheel or system can put the driver, passengers, and anyone else on the road at increased risk of bodily injury or even death in the event of an accident.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to recognize the signs of a potentially defective steering wheel. If you suspect something is amiss with your vehicle, contact a mechanic and have your car looked at. Remember to keep records of any maintenance performed or recommended for the vehicle. Additionally, it may be possible to report your experiences and see if there are others like yours by checking the internet, particularly the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The following signs may indicate a defective steering system in your vehicle:
- Turning the wheel is difficult, especially in a vehicle with power steering
- The steering wheel feels loose and is too easy to turn
- Vibrations or pulsations in the steering wheel
- The steering wheel slips, especially when held in a turned position
- The car appears to drift to one side or the other without driver input
- Unusual grinding, thumping, or screeching noises when turning the wheel
If you suspect a defective steering wheel caused or contributed to your accident, the manufacturer may be liable.
One of the less-often discussed causes for car accidents is the presence of broken or defective auto parts. From defective tires to malfunctioning airbags, whenever an accident or the injuries sustained in an accident were caused or contributed to by a defective car part, the designer or manufacturer of that part could be liable.
Vehicle manufacturers are required to meet certain industry standards to ensure a reasonably safe drive for their customers. When a car part does not work as intended and it prevents a driver from traveling safely from place to place, such as a steering problem, the manufacturer may be liable for any resulting damages including medical bills, lost wages, and even the replacement of the car part or entire vehicle.
It is notoriously difficult to identify and prove a defective car part.
The difficulty in proving a defective car part is largely due to the investigation process; a car accident attorney will need to identify any other vehicles with the same defect as well as track and analyze the design and manufacturing process to figure out where the defect occurred, how it happened, and who is responsible. This process typically requires access that the average person can’t obtain.
Additionally, the vehicle in question will need to be examined by accident reconstruction and vehicle safety experts to determine how much of a role the defective part played in the resulting damages. The good news is that the cost of all of this expert help does not have to come out of the accident victim’s pocket. Instead, car accident attorneys typically offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means clients don’t pay for their services unless and until they win their case.
To learn more about defective steering wheels, or for help investigating your claim, reach out to a car accident attorney in your area.