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Who is Responsible for Car Accidents Involving Auto Defects?

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Who is Responsible for Car Accidents Involving Auto Defects?

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Like any product liability case, defective vehicles or auto parts can cause severe damage to the unaware consumers who have purchased them or find them included in their vehicle. Common examples of auto defects include faulty airbags, seatbelts, tires, and brakes, as well as a tendency to roll over when making turns. These and many more defects can create unsafe situations for the driver, passengers, and anyone sharing the road with them. Damages occurring as a result of an accident caused by an auto defect can include medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and even wrongful death and funeral expenses.

When an accident occurs due to an auto defect rather than negligent driving, it can be tricky to figure out who is liable—the vehicle manufacturer or the parts manufacturer.

When an auto defect occurs due to the vehicle’s overall design, the vehicle manufacturer is liable. When the auto defect occurs due to a specific part manufactured by another company, the parts manufacturer is liable. In some cases, liability might fall with both the vehicle and parts manufacturers if the defect occurred due to the overall design of the vehicle and a defect in the parts manufacturer.

In these cases, the parties attempt to blame each other for the negligence, making it harder to figure out where things went wrong.

When a vehicle does not meet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards for vehicles sold in the United States, the vehicle must be recalled.

Vehicle recalls are relatively common, but this doesn’t mean you are on your own to pay for the necessary repairs or purchase an entirely new vehicle. Depending on the circumstances of the defect, you might be eligible to file a personal injury claim to seek financial compensation to help with repairs.

Below is a list of common auto defects:

  • Seat belt defects. Seat belt defects can result in a seat belt failing to stabilize a person in the event of a quick stop or collision, allowing a passenger to be thrown from the vehicle or to injure themselves inside the vehicle in a way that could have been prevented by a seatbelt with proper mechanisms in place to secure the passenger.
  • Brake defects. Brake defects are often marked by a wobbly feeling or vibrations when trying to brake, and even the sound and/or feeling of scraping. When brakes do not respond quickly, lock, or fail to hold, severe accidents can occur.
  • Tire defects. Common tire defects include tread separation, tread and belt separation, and tires made without the specific components necessary to ensure passenger safety. When tires slip, blow out, or sit at an unsafe angle under the vehicle, dangerous situations tend to result.
  • Airbag defects. Airbag defects commonly occur when an airbag inflates too early or too late, resulting in injuries to the driver and/or passenger. Some defective airbags have even exploded, injuring the driver and passengers with flying shrapnel inside the vehicle.
  • Child car seat defects. Faulty buckles, latches, and adjusters are just a few common defects found in child car seats. Weak frames unable to withstand intense impact and seats made from flammable material are additional defects that can put a child at even more risk for injury in an accident.

It can be hard to identify an auto defect on your own.

Understandably, it can be difficult to identify an auto defect if you are not a mechanic or vehicle expert. In fact, you might be unsure whether a defect played a part in your accident at all. This is just one of the many reasons it’s a good idea to contact an experienced product liability attorney, who will have expert engineering and automotive design resources on hand to consider your case and decide what action can be taken to get you the compensation you deserve.

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