If I’m in a Car Accident, Would the Manufacturer or Retailer Be At Fault?
By Chris Dixon
More than 390 million vehicles and 66 million pieces of motor vehicle equipment have been recalled since 1966. Vehicle recalls are issued regularly by the Department of Transportation, so it is important to check every so often and make sure that there isn’t a recall issued for your vehicle or any of its parts. If you have been involved in a car accident that was caused by a defective vehicle or vehicle part, it’s critical to speak with a car accident lawyer about your case. Your lawyer will protect you from the manufacturer’s big insurance company and give your case the best chance at recovering the maximum amount of compensation.
When is a Defective Car At-Fault for a Car Accident?
An improperly installed car part or a defective computer system in a vehicle can cause major trouble. If a car part is installed incorrectly it could come loose and cause the driver to lose control of their vehicle, or prevent other parts in the vehicle from functioning properly. Defective computer systems in a vehicle can cause unexpected acceleration, defective tires, delayed airbags, defective breaks and many other dangerous things to occur in a vehicle. If you have been involved in a car accident and believe that it was caused by a defect in the vehicle, it’s essential to gather evidence, information on your personal vehicle and inform your lawyer about what’s going on. The more evidence that you can gather from the scene of the accident – including pictures, video, audio, statements from witnesses and many more – the better. Obtaining a copy of your vehicle maintenance records will help prove that you have kept up on vehicle maintenance and will be useful to your lawyer when filing a claim against your vehicle’s manufacturer.
It’s best to wait to file an insurance claim against the manufacturer of your vehicle until you’ve talked with your lawyer. Not only does your lawyer have the legal experience needed to write a persuasive demand letter, but they’ll protect you from the manufacturer’s insurance company. Vehicle manufacturers are insured and protected by large insurance companies and expensive legal attorneys that are hired to fight against claims that are made against the manufacturer. Their insurance agents’ and legal counsel’s job is to make sure that claims are settled for the lowest amount possible. Don’t worry though, your car accident lawyer will know how to push against their insurance agents and use the evidence from your case to prove that your car accident was caused by a defect or the manufacturer’s negligence.
If I’m in a Car Accident with a Car That’s Under Recall, is the Manufacturer At-Fault?
It’s essential to not only the health of your vehicle, but the safety of you and your passengers to keep a lookout for safety recalls that may be issued for your car. If a driver ignores safety recall notices for their vehicle and they’re involved in an accident, they might suffer severe injuries or damages to their vehicle that could have been prevented. Most vehicle manufacturers and dealers issue a direct notice to their customers if there is a recall on a vehicle, but some do not. If there is a recall on your vehicle, it’s critical to take matters into your own hands and check the NHTSA for a possible recall. If you are involved in a car accident that involves a vehicle that is under recall you can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer. Each car sold in the U.S. is legally required to be “crashworthy” and have basic safety features such as airbags, seat belts, strong frames and more. If a recall is on a car when an accident happens, regardless of it was caused by the driver’s error, you may be entitled to recover compensation and should speak with your car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
If I’m in a Car Accident Can I File a Product Liability Claim Against My Car’s Manufacturer?
Product liability varies from state to state, but for the most part, it doesn’t differ much from Missouri’s statute that states, “product liability claim” occurs when (1) the defendant sold a product as part of a business, (2) the product was used as reasonably anticipated, and (3) the product was either defective or it was unreasonably dangerous to sell without an adequate warning. The defendant is “strictly liable” for any damages that are caused. Some of the most common types of product liability claims include:
- Defectively Manufactured Products – products that feature a defect that isn’t planned for and is a mistake made by the manufacturer. Even if the manufacturer was thorough and very careful when manufacturing the product, the manufacturer would be held liable under product liability if someone is injured by the defective product
- Defectively Designed Products – when a company designs a product that has foreseeable risks attached to it that could have been prevented with an alteration of the design of the product that would have made the product safer, but instead, someone was harmed by it
- A Failure to Provide Adequate Warning or Instructions – companies must list information on their products about potential risks that may occur by using the product and list instructions for how to safely use it. If warnings or instructions are not included with a product and someone is injured by it, this is a case of product liability
If you are in a car accident and think that you might file a product liability claim against the manufacturer of your defective vehicle or the manufacturer of your vehicle’s defective part, it’s essential to consult a product liability lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can inform you of your state’s product liability laws, help you decide what damages you should claim for your case and create a plan to recover the most compensation with your claim.
Speak with a Product Liability Lawyer Immediately
If you or someone you care about has been involved in a car accident, it’s critical to take immediate action and get a lawyer involved with your case. Your lawyer has the experience needed to demonstrate that your injuries or damages were caused by the defective product and can use evidence from your case to your claim’s advantage to recover the maximum amount of compensation. Even if you think that you cannot afford to hire a lawyer with your car accident case, most lawyers use a contingency plan which means that you won’t have to pay for damages until when and if they recover damages for your case. If you have been in a car accident and a defective vehicle or defective parts is involved, contact our product liability lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm to fight for your case. Consultations are free, and our lawyers will do everything in their power to get the maximum amount of compensation for your accident claim.