In a car accident, every element matters. From the speed of the vehicles to the condition of the road, any factor can play a role in causing or preventing an accident. This is also true of the various parts that make up a car. Every single component of a vehicle matters. If one malfunctions, it could lead to disastrous consequences.
Car Accidents Caused by Defective Auto Parts
Faulty brakes, non-functioning airbags and defective fuel tanks are just some of the ways in which a defective part can cause an accident. In most cases, the driver is at fault when their car crashes, as it is due to some negligent action. However, whenever a defective auto part causes a collision, there are situations where the manufacturer or another party may be held liable.
If the brakes on a car are faulty, it can be extremely dangerous to drive. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 22 percent of car accidents due to vehicle-related failure were due to defective brakes. Examples of defective brakes include:
- Missing brake components
- Cracks in the brake disc
- Improper installation
If the brake pads are faulty or otherwise not in proper working order, the driver may not be able to stop the car in time if they need to, leading to serious accidents.
Defective Steering System
While any car accident can be a terrifying experience, it can be even worse if a defective steering system causes the accident. Defective steering systems can make it difficult or impossible for drivers to control their cars. These defects can include:
- Jammed wheel locks
- Pump malfunctions
- Leaking fluids
In several occurrences, defective airbags have been known to deploy prematurely, resulting in a driver veering off the side of the road, putting them at risk rather than protecting them. Other times, defective airbags deploy with an explosion of metal shrapnel, severely injuring the driver and other occupants.
Defective airbags like the examples above resulted in the NHTSA ordering a recall of more than 14 million vehicles from 11 different automobile manufacturers.
Defective Fuel Tanks
A fuel tank can be defective in several ways. If it is improperly positioned, it can be exposed to the risk of fuel leaks resulting in explosions or fire. Faulty fuel tanks can also be missing a 'cut-off' that prevents the flow of gasoline after a collision. Additionally, poor welding that compromises the fuel tank's structural integrity can lead to tank ruptures.
Who is Liable for Defective Parts?
In most cases, a car or parts manufacturer is liable for any accidents or injuries resulting from the malfunction. They may fail to issue a recall or perhaps fail to properly warn of the dangers of a potential defect. In some cases, however, other parties may be held liable. For example:
- Car Dealer - If the car dealer knew about the defect and did not disclose it to the buyer, they may be liable.
- Auto Mechanic - If the mechanic who installed the part was aware of the defect and did not fix it, they may also be held liable.
Am I Entitled to Compensation Following an Accident?
You may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one has been involved in an accident caused by a defective part. The compensation you are eligible to receive will depend on the severity of the injuries and damage sustained. If you have lost a loved one in an accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Compensation can include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and other lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial expenses
Contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case if you have been injured in an accident or if your loved one has been killed. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you determine who is liable and what type of compensation you may be entitled to. They will also handle the complicated legal process for you so that you can focus on healing and recovery.
If you were injured in a car accident in Ft. Lauderdale, call Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A. today at (954) 467-8800 or fill out our form online.