Common Types of Defective Vehicle Parts
A modern automobile is a complex machine that relies on hundreds of various parts to work correctly. These parts have a potential for failure, but not all failures lead to serious accidents or injuries. Components that have a higher risk to cause serious injury when they are defective include:
- Brake Systems: A vehicle’s braking system is by far one of the most critical safety components, because it allows you to slow or stop. When the braking system fails, a driver cannot control their vehicle, which could lead to a catastrophic high-speed accident. Braking systems involve multiple components that could fail when manufactured, designed, or installed incorrectly, including brake lines, cylinders, pedals, and pads.
- Steering Systems: The steering mechanism in a vehicle allows you to direct your car in one direction. When that mechanism fails, you cannot avoid a collision and may even create an accident by veering into traffic. Components that could fail in a steering system include power steering pumps, hydraulic lines, tire rods, and gears within the steering.
- Airbags: Even if an accident occurs due to human error, when the airbag does not deploy as it should or does so in a manner that causes injury, that vehicle defect could turn a simple rear-end collision into a catastrophic crash. Defective airbags could also deploy while driving; thus, causing the accident. Other times airbags fail to deploy or deploy and send debris into the face of the person in front of them.
- Windshield Wipers: You might not realize it, but windshield wipers are a critical component to vehicle safety. When wipers fail during a rain or snow storm, your visibility quickly drops to zero. Defective wipers could lead to a severe accident when drivers cannot see in front of them.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Defective Auto Parts?
If a defective car part in your vehicle or another driver’s vehicle leads to a serious accident, your lemon law attorney will investigate all parties involved in the manufacturing and distribution of that vehicle to determine who is liable. Some parties that might be found liable include:
Manufacturer of the Vehicle
The vehicle’s manufacturer, if the defective part was on the car when it was distributed to dealerships, could be automatically liable for any defective components in their vehicles. Manufacturers owe a duty of care to their customers. And through proper quality and safety control protocols, these defects should be caught and eradicated. Therefore, a manufacturer that allows a vehicle to leave their facility with a defective part could be named in a lawsuit.
Manufacturer of the Defective Component
If the vehicle manufacturer did not make the defective part, then the third party responsible for creating it could be liable. Companies that make auto parts are just as liable as the manufacturer of the vehicle itself because they must not only ensure their products are created in accordance to their specifications, but also that their products are safe.
Marketer of the Defective Part
Sometimes, the product is manufactured correctly, but the company that marketed that component did not include all warnings or proper instructions with their product. In this case, the marketer would be liable.
The Designer of the Defective Part
Auto parts manufactured correctly can be defective when their design is flawed. Flawed components can be serious safety hazards. And when a poorly designed component causes the crash, the designer can be held responsible.
Dealership or Mechanic That Installed the Defective Part
Products may be designed and manufactured correctly. But when they are installed, something goes wrong. In this instance, the mechanic or dealership that installed the component incorrectly would be liable for your injuries.
Severe Injuries Associated with Defective Vehicle Accidents
Defective components can turn minor accidents into catastrophic incidents. Car accident victims could suffer from long-term, debilitating injuries when parts like airbags, brakes, or even seatbelts fail to work.
Some of the more common injuries seen in a defective part case include:
- Bone fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
Anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident, whether a defective component was involved or not, should seek medical treatment right away. Some injuries, like soft tissue damage, can take several hours to days to show. Starting treatment early is critical not only for your health, but also in the event that you file an injury case later.