Orange County Auto Product Liability Attorneys
Whether it be a head-on collision or a T-bone accident, car crashes can be catastrophic, leading to long-term hospitalizations and costly recoveries. Following an accident, you may be tempted to file a claim against the at-fault driver, but what if, during the investigation, it comes to light that the driver was not negligent at all and it was a mechanical failure that caused your injuries?
Automobiles must be rigorously engineered and tested to ensure defective components do not go to market and, when they do, manufacturers must issue widespread recalls and replacements to avoid serious crashes. However, if you are involved in an accident caused by a defective auto part, you may be able to pursue compensation. To learn what options you have after an accident, contact Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie. Our legal team has more than 40 years of experience and can launch an in-depth investigation into your case. Call us at (949) 752-7474 to schedule a free consultation.
Evaluating the cause of a car accident can be difficult at first, but further inspection of the vehicles involved, maintenance reports, and crash test results may reveal that an automotive component contributed in some way to a victim’s injuries. When discussing auto part defects, two scenarios can occur:
- A defective component causes the accident and leads to your injuries; or
- A mechanical failure keeps a safety feature from functioning properly during an accident.
For an example of a defective component that causes an accident, one only has to look at the Toyota 2011 accelerator recalls. Those accidents occurred because the accelerators became stuck to the floor of the vehicle, making it nearly impossible for the drivers to stop the vehicle from traveling at high speed. In contrast, safety feature failures include a seatbelt that unlatches during a collision, causing the driver or passenger to strike the inside of the car or be ejected out a window.
In both situations, an accident victim can pursue a claim against the manufacturer, or a mechanic if the defect was the result of poor maintenance, but you must first determine which component caused your injuries.
While there are many different ways a defective auto part can contribute to your accident, the most common include:
- Faulty accelerators
- Faulty brake systems
- Over or under pressured tires
- Faulty tank systems or improperly placed tanks
- Airbags that do not deploy
- Airbags that deploy at the wrong times
- Extremely restrictive seatbelts
- Seatbelts that unlatch in accidents
- Car seats that suddenly recline
- Roof collapses
- Improperly placed headrests
- Defective door latches that cause passenger ejections
It is important to note that to pursue a claim based on an auto part defect, you must prove that the specific defect caused your injuries. In some situations, the defect may not have contributed to your injuries in any way, and the primary cause was a negligent driver. However, if your injuries were specifically the result of a faulty part, then you may be able to pursue a claim from several liable parties.
Unlike an auto accident claim where you are holding a negligent driver at fault for your injuries, an accident involving a faulty auto part requires a product liability claim against the party that handled the defective component and allowed it to become a part of the vehicle, which can include:
Manufacturers: Often, the faulty part was built into the vehicle by the manufacturer and is the result of failing to test whether or not it is safe. When these issues are discovered, a manufacturer can be held liable for any injuries caused by the defective part and must issue a recall. Failing to do so is a violation of federal laws and can lead to serious ramifications.
Retailers: If an auto manufacturer does issue a recall, retailers are required to identify and pull any components that are available for sale. This includes individual parts and vehicles that already have them installed. If the retailer is aware of the defective part and still sells it to a consumer, they can be held liable if that part contributed to the consumer’s injuries in an accident. In addition, the mishandling of parts and vehicles can also result in a defective component, which can be considered negligence in a claim.
Mechanics: Sometimes the issue was not with a specific part or manufacturer defect, but defects that occurred during maintenance. Repair shops and mechanics are required to thoroughly review a vehicle for dangerous issues and repair or report the issue to the vehicle’s owner as soon as possible. They must also be careful when performing repairs, as they may end up causing a serious defect in the process. In both situations, the repair shop can be held liable if their poor repairs contributed to an accident.
Proving negligence and determining liability in an auto defect accident is not an easy task. You must have the awareness to review your car accident for a faulty part, investigate whether or not this issue has been reported before, how it contributed to your accident, and who is responsible for your injuries, all the while working through recovery. However, if you bring your case before an experienced Orange County product liability attorney, you may have a better shot at receiving compensation.
At Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, our legal team has more than 40 years of experience advocating for our clients’ rights to compensation after a car accident. When you bring your case before us, we will review all potentially liable parties and, once we have identified who is responsible for your injuries, aggressively pursue all forms of compensation on your behalf. To learn how an experienced and knowledgeable firm can represent you in a faulty auto part claim, contact us at (949) 752-7474.
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