There are many parts of a car that can malfunction because of a defect, but certain types of defects can lead to serious injuries on the road. One of the most common examples of a car defect is a malfunctioning airbag. Takata recently recalled their airbags after a series of accidents caused by the airbags resulted in severe injuries and death. Failing brakes or malfunctioning signal lights are also defects that can lead to injuries. Tires that are prone to blowouts are another common defect that can lead to serious accidents and injuries on the roads in New York.
In most car defect accidents, the driver is often not liable for the damages caused by the accident. However, a driver may be found at least partially responsible for the accident if it is discovered that the driver of the vehicle knew about a defective part and failed to get it repaired or replaced. In this situation, the driver may share liability with the originator of the defective car part.
Similarly, a car component manufacturer can also be held liable for accidents if they resulted from a defective part manufactured by their company. Some vehicle manufacturers do not make every part of their vehicles in house and utilize third party companies for some vehicle parts. If there is a design or manufacturing defect in a component manufacturer’s parts, they can be held responsible for any accidents that occur because of the defect.
In some cases, the car may be designed and manufactured correctly, but negligent transportation of the vehicle results in a defect. The shipping or transportation company responsible for a vehicle that is damaged during transport can be held liable for any accidents that occur because of the damage. In these cases, documentation at every stage of the vehicle’s creation, transport, and sale is critical in order to prove that the defect was created during transportation and did not take place elsewhere.
Car dealerships may also be liable for accidents resulting from a vehicle defect for both new and used cars. Used car dealerships have a duty to inspect every vehicle they receive for defects and repair these issues before selling the car to a customer. Failing to check or to repair defects can render them responsible for any injuries that result. Car dealerships can also be held liable for accidents resulting from new car defects for similar failures to inspect or for installing new parts on a vehicle that are themselves defective. Some dealerships will upgrade vehicles and fail to check whether the new parts installed are defective. Any accidents that occur as a result mean that the dealership is liable for damages.
Mechanics can also be held liable for accidents in a car defect case. Independent mechanics can be responsible for car defects if they fail to identify a defective part if the car is inspected or fail to repair the defect properly if the car was brought in to address the issue. A mechanic can also be liable in this type of accident if replacement parts installed are defective. This scenario occurs when a mechanic fails to store their replacement parts properly that results in damage and defects.
Finally, an auto parts company can also be held liable if they sell or replace auto parts with ones that are defective. Similar to cases of defect liability with mechanics, if the auto parts company negligently stores their parts that results in damage, and those damaged parts are installed in vehicles, any accidents that result can fall on the auto parts company for compensation. Because there are so many different parties that may singularly or combined share liability in a car defect case, it is critical that you secure the services of a personal injury attorney with experience handling car defect cases.