Every car crash is unique, but we know most of them result from some form of driver negligence, such as speeding, drunk driving, failing to yield or distracted driving. There are also some accidents that result from factors out of drivers’ control, such as defective parts (brakes, tires, steering, engine components, etc.).
This raises many questions about seeking compensation for damages. Can vehicle manufacturers and/or the makers of individual components of a vehicle be held liable for damages from a crash? Can another driver be partially at fault for such a crash?
Fortunately, you do not need to attempt to find the answers to these questions by yourself. Schmidt Kramer’s licensed Harrisburg auto accident lawyers are here to help you pursue compensation from the parties that may be liable for your damages. You can leave the complexities of the legal process up to our experienced attorneys who have a track record of success.
Vehicle Defects That Could Cause a Crash
There are a variety of vehicle parts that could be defective and contribute to a vehicle crash, including defective:
- Accelerators – A defect might cause sudden acceleration, which can be terrifying for drivers.
- Brakes – Brake failure could lead to a devastating crash.
- Tires – Tires could fail because of tread separation or another defect.
- Engine – Problems with the transmission, engine fans or electrical components could cause drivers to lose control of their car at a bad time.
- Cooling system – If the engine cannot cool down as it should, there could be a high risk of an engine fire.
- Fuel system failure – This could result in a sudden fire that could cause serious injuries.
- Steering components, such as power steering – Drivers may be unable to steer the vehicle as needed to avoid a crash. The loss of power steering can make it much harder to control a vehicle.
- Parking brake failure – If the parking brake fails, a vehicle could move out of a parking spot and into traffic. If this happens while someone is in the vehicle, he or she could get seriously injured.
Other vehicle components that could be defective and put drivers in danger of crashing include cruise control, headlights, taillights and suspension.
There are a variety of defects that could cause injuries in a crash to be worse, or even much worse. For example, a seatbelt could unbuckle during a crash and cause the occupant to get seriously injured. A malfunctioning airbag might not deploy during a crash, causing the victim to slam into the steering wheel or dashboard. Sometimes airbags can deploy when they should not or deploy too fast and with too much force.
There is a possibility of the roof collapsing during a rollover accident. This could cause head injuries and other types of severe injuries.
Other defects that could increase the likelihood of a severe injury in a crash include seatbacks and door locks. The seatback breaking could cause a severe back injury. If the door locks and you cannot get out, you could get more severely injured by being trapped inside the car. If there is a fire, you could suffer severe burns because you may be unable to get out of the car.
Liability for a Crash Caused by a Defective Part
The manufacturer of the vehicle and/or defective part could be held liable for damages. Your attorney would need to prove the crash resulted from the defect in question. He or she may need to bring in an accident reconstruction expert or some other type of expert witness to explain how the defect contributed to the crash.
It is possible the defect was known because it was part of a recall issued by the manufacturer. If a recall was issued and the driver of the vehicle knew about it and chose not to deal with it, he or she may be liable for damages that result from the crash.
If you were involved in a crash with a vehicle that had a defect that the other driver chose not to deal with, the driver of that car may bear all the liability. The manufacturer may not bear any liability because they are shielded by their recall request.
Fortunately, Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, so you can seek compensation from your own insurance for your medical expenses. If you had a defect that you knew about and did not get fixed, you might not have a claim against the manufacturer.
There may be times when you would have a claim against the other driver and a vehicle or car part manufacturer. The other driver may have been negligent in the operation of his or her vehicle and this may have contributed to the crash, regardless of the defective part.
The most important step to take following a crash with a vehicle that is defective is to call an attorney to help you determine your potential legal options. When possible, collect evidence at the scene, such as pictures of vehicle damage and the location of the crash.
Schmidt Kramer is Ready to Assist You. Call Us Today
Contact us today to discuss how we can assist you with the legal process. We are prepared to manage every step of the process on your behalf with no upfront costs.
Our firm has obtained tens of millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of our clients, many of whom were victims of motor vehicle accidents.
Schedule a free consultation today. Contact us by calling: (717) 727-2550.