While the vast majority of car accidents are the result of negligent drivers, some accidents have nothing to do with driver error, and everything to do with the way a car is made.
These accidents are typically the result of a car or mechanical defect, a type of problem that a driver may not be aware of until it’s too late. Data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration indicates that defective parts play a role in at least 2 percent of accidents on U.S. roadways. The most common defect responsible for collisions involves problems with tires or wheels, which is to blame for 35 percent of accidents. Defective brakes or braking systems and tire blowouts are also cited as common causes of defective part-related accidents. In critical instances, a defect in the fuel system can lead to vehicle stalling or, in worst cases, ignition, posing a significant risk of injury or fatality to the driver and passengers.
Automakers and parts manufacturers have a duty to provide safe vehicles and working parts to the consumer. When they fail to uphold this responsibility, they should be held accountable for the ensuing damage. At DeMayo Law Offices, Your North Carolina Law Firm™, we believe that irresponsible and negligent behavior should be met with consequences and that victims hurt by that behavior should be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in an accident and you believe a car or mechanical defect may be to blame, contact the experienced auto defect lawyers at DeMayo Law Offices. We offer a no-obligation case evaluation to review the circumstances of your accident and lay out your legal options for pursuing compensation. Contact us today by calling (877) 333-1000 and scheduling your free consultation. Our North Carolina car accident lawyers can help you through this challenge.
Definition of a Car or Mechanical Defect
Products don’t always work the way they are intended. Unfortunately, the consequences of a product failing to work properly are extremely severe when it comes to cars and car parts. Ranging from malfunctioning brakes to engine failure, defects in motor vehicles can lead to accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries.
The standard definition of a car or mechanical defect is a malfunction of any motor vehicle system or part that impacts the safety or normal use of a vehicle. Defects can impact any number of car or mechanical systems in a vehicle, including the transmission, hydraulic system, motor, brakes, or any other aspect of a functional vehicle.
A defect can impact the proper functioning of a vehicle suddenly and without warning causing severe injuries to the occupants. There are two different types of defects that can impact the way a car or vehicle functions: a design defect or a manufacturing defect.
A design defect is a significant flaw in the design or concept of a vehicle that can make it unreasonably dangerous to operate. A design defect may make a vehicle structurally unsound, such as making it more prone to rolling. A design defect could also create a flaw where the wheels of a vehicle become stuck, making the car unsafe to operate and leading to accidents where a car can spin out of control.
A manufacturing defect is different. A manufacturing defect occurs when there is a mistake made in the manufacturing process of a vehicle part. This error in the process means that the design of the part should work, but the actual part itself is corrupted in some way by a mistake made in the creation of the part. A mistake in the production line can cause a part to be made structurally weaker than designed or an ill-fitting shape. These vehicle defects are unintended and can significantly alter the performance and safe operation of a vehicle. It’s only a matter of time before the part fails and causes a catastrophic chain of events that can lead to a motor vehicle accident.
Examples of Car and Mechanical Defects
When an integral part of a car fails, the consequences can be catastrophic. A part failing to work as intended can cause an auto accident, or it can make the outcome of an auto accident worse than it might have been. Some of the most common types of car and mechanical defects include:
- Inadequate rollover protection
- Roofs that collapse
- Electrical system failures
- Electrical fires short circuits
- Defective tires or wheels
- Tires prone to blowouts
- Tire defects or tire components that break or crack
- Wheels or rims that crack
- Airbag failure
- Airbags that fail to deploy in a collision
- Airbags that deploy when there is no crash
- Airbags that deploy too fast or with too much force
- Seatbelt failure
- Seat belts that don’t properly latch
- Seat belts that fail to stay latched
- Defective seat belts
- Unintended acceleration
- Brake failures
- Power steering failure
- Seats and seat backs that collapse or break
Liability for Automotive Defects
Securing fair compensation for a car or mechanical defect accident in a product liability claim can be complicated because there may be several different parties that could be held liable for the event. Those parties could include your insurance company or the manufacturer of the car.
Determining liability takes a skilled and experienced attorney. A complete investigation must be made into the accident in order to determine how it happened, which part or mechanical component failed, how that failure contributed to the accident itself, and how the responsible parties for the part failure were negligent in their duty to the consumer.
These complicated components must fit together to establish liability and prove that financial compensation must be provided to the victim. In general, these tend to be the parties that may be held liable as a result of a defective car or part accident:
In some cases involving defective cars and parts or defective design, the car manufacturer may be held liable for damages when an accident takes place. Auto manufacturers have a duty to provide reasonably safe vehicles to the consumer. If it can be proven that they were negligent in that duty and it resulted in an accident with physical injuries, they may be held accountable. To pursue a compensation claim against an auto industry manufacturer, you must have legal counsel. Vehicle manufacturers are large and powerful companies with teams of defense lawyers at their disposal, meaning you need someone with the experience and resources to protect your rights and fight back.
A specific defective part may mean that the manufacturer of the parts can be held liable for compensation following a serious accident. In some auto product liability cases, both the auto part manufacturer and the car manufacturer can be held liable for a defective part or defective product that leads to an accident.
Car Dealership or Parts Dealers
A car dealership or a parts dealer may also be held responsible in the event of a defective car accident. That may also include a used car dealer. Anyone who sold the defective vehicle may bear some of the responsibility, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
You may also choose to file a claim with your car insurance company.
Holding large companies accountable for their failure to protect consumers can be a daunting challenge. However, with the right attorney at your side, you may be able to recover a substantial compensation package that will cover your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
An experienced attorney can review the circumstances of your case and give you the advice you need to make a decision on how to proceed. Whether you take a car company to court or negotiate with an insurance adjuster, a skilled attorney has the resources it takes to help you get the maximum amount of compensation.
Do I Need an Attorney for an Automotive Defect Claim?
The answer is unequivocal: yes. Defective car accident cases are very complex. It takes a tremendous amount of time and investigation to prove that a defective part is to blame. Insurance companies and automotive companies are alike in one area: They want to keep their profit margins high.
By tearing down claims of defective parts by saying there is “no evidence,” or shifting the blame onto drivers rather than themselves, those companies get to keep their money while you end up footing the bill for their mistakes.
If you’ve been in an accident, you might experience a sense of overwhelm and uncertainty about the appropriate steps to take moving forward.
An aggressive and experienced attorney has the ability to investigate the circumstances of your accident and help pinpoint what went wrong and where. An attorney also knows what it takes to build a strong case that can stand up to the tactics of insurance companies and automakers that may not want to accept responsibility for an accident.
Contact an Experienced North Carolina Car Defect Law Firm
At DeMayo Law Offices, Your North Carolina Law Firm™, we don’t want to see you pay the price for a defective auto accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash and you believe that a defective part may have been to blame, contact our personal injury attorneys at (877) 333-1000 to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation.
Automakers have teams of motor vehicle defect attorneys at the ready, waiting to tear apart your personal injury claim against them. Make sure you have aggressive representation on your side and get the compensation you deserve, call the legal professionals at DeMayo Law Offices today.