The majority of auto accidents are caused by driver errors such as speeding or failing to yield at a busy intersection. However, some accidents are caused by faulty auto parts or systems that create a safety hazard even the most conscientious drivers can't avoid. In these cases, the manufacturer can be held liable for the resulting injuries.
Accidents Caused by Faulty Auto Parts or Systems
Cars are complex machines, with a single vehicle having 30,000 or more individual parts. When these parts work together, drivers go from point A to point B without incident. When a malfunction occurs, significant injuries can result.
Some examples of faulty auto parts or systems that can cause an accident include:
- Seatbelts that don't buckle correctly or come unbuckled during an accident
- Airbags that fail to deploy or deploy when they shouldn't
- Roofs that collapse when a vehicle rolls over during a crash
- Sudden power steering failure that makes it impossible to control a vehicle
- Brakes that fail to work as intended
An experienced driver with fast reflexes might be able to avoid an accident caused by faulty auto parts or systems, but many people will panic when faced with a sudden malfunction in a crucial component of their vehicle. In the time it takes to calm down, a serious accident can result.
Some of the many different types of injuries that can result from accidents caused by faulty auto parts or systems include sprains, concussions, burns, fractures, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and permanent neurological damage. In severe cases, fatalities may result.
Manufacturers can be held legally liable for faulty auto parts or systems that cause accidents. Claims can be based on:
- Poor quality materials
- Improper assembly or construction of a specific part
- Poor workmanship
- Failure to adequately test a part or system before sale
- Failure to warn consumers once there is evidence a part or system is unsafe
- Misleading marketing claims
Proving manufacturer liability is accomplished with extensive documentation, including photographs of the accident, witness testimony, expert testimony, and supporting claims from others who've experienced similar issues with the faulty auto part or system in question.
Class Action Lawsuits
Cases involving faulty auto parts or systems are sometimes consolidated into class action suits when many people report similar issues. For example, GM is currently litigating several claims related to liability for an ignition switch defect that has caused the deaths of at least 124 people and injured another 275 men, women, and children. Faulty ignition switches created problems such as turning off the engine unexpectedly, disabling vehicle airbags, and creating power steering or brake failure. This ignition switch problem affected the Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion, and several other small cars made by GM, and the company has already paid out $595 million to victims, with some receiving as much as $1 million.
Hiring an Attorney
Proving third party liability for an auto accident is significantly more complex that obtaining a settlement in a standard personal injury case. For this type of litigation, it's crucial to have a skilled attorney who can advocate for your right to compensation.
Attorneys who handle personal injury cases involving faulty auto parts or systems typically work on a contingency fee basis. This means they do not require upfront payment and will accept a percentage of the settlement as payment for their services. With a contingency fee arrangement, you don't need to worry about the cost of quality legal representation, and you can feel confident the attorney you’ve selected is doing everything possible to obtain the maximum compensation you're entitled to receive under the law.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault’s experienced attorneys are committed to helping those who’ve been injured or lost loved ones in accidents related to faulty auto parts or systems receive the compensation they deserve. Schedule a free, no-obligation case review today.