Could a Defective Part Have Caused Your Car Accident?
Car accidents are often complex, involving many factors of which you may not be aware of at the time. One of those factors is a defective part. In most cases, car accidents are caused by human error or negligence. However, in some cases, defective parts can cause an accident giving the appearance of negligence on the part of a driver.
It takes an experienced car accident reconstructionist to determine the root cause of a car accident, including mechanical defects. It also takes an experienced attorney to know which parties are liable for the accident. Contact us today if you have been in a car accident, or keep reading to learn more.
Defective Parts Cause About 44,000 Car Crashes Per Year
Recent data on causes and numbers of car crashes has not been forthcoming, partly because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has lacked a formal leader since 2017. However, according to the NHTSA’s 2008 Crash Causation Report, about 44,643 car crashes were caused by mechanical failure in a three-year period.
There could be several reasons for mechanical failure, including:
- Parts with a manufacturer defect
- Parts with a design defect
- Parts improperly serviced by a mechanic
- Parts in a state of decay due to owner negligence
The number of recalled motor vehicle parts can give additional insight into how many of these accidents might be caused by manufacturer or design defects. According to Statista, 39 million vehicles and 14 million vehicle parts were taken off the roads in 2019.
What are the Most Common Defective Parts that Cause Accidents?
According to the NHTSA, failed or degraded tires made up 43% of crashes caused by mechanical failure. Failed or degraded brakes made up 25% of crashes. Steering, transmission failures, engine failures, and suspension systems are lumped together and represent 10.5% of crashes caused by mechanical failure.
Other defective parts that commonly cause mechanical failure include:
- Fuel system components that can cause fires in an accident, worsening damage and injuries
- Accelerator controls that break or stick, causing accidents
- Wheels that crack or break, causing accidents
- Engine cooling fans that break, causing injury and accidents
- Seats that fail under normal use, worsening injuries from accidents
- Airbags that deploy when not intended to deploy, causing accidents or worsening injuries
According to the NHTSA, common auto part recalls also include wiring systems, windshield wiper assemblies, and critical components that break or fail to function as intended.
Who Is Liable for Car Accidents Caused by Defective Parts?
Determining liability in car accidents caused by defective parts is best left up to an attorney. There are several parties that could be responsible, including yourself. It is necessary to evaluate all facts of the case to determine who is liable.
Liable parties for car accidents caused by defective parts may include:
- The part manufacturer
- The part designer
- The mechanic that serviced the part, after a needed repair or recall
The vehicle owner may also be found liable if they ignored a recall notice and failed to get the necessary repair, or if they neglected the maintenance and repair of their vehicle when obvious signs of needed repair were present before the accident.
What Types of Liability Theory Are Applied When There Is a Part Defect?
Product liability law varies by state. Find Law has an excellent guide on product liability law in Idaho.
There are three ways you can show liability in a car accident caused by a part defect:
- Negligence: In a negligence case, you must prove that the manufacturer, designer, or mechanic knew of the defect and neglected to take action.
- Strict Liability: If the car accident would not have happened if the part defect did not exist, you may be able to show that the manufacturer, designer, or mechanic are strictly liable.
- Breach of Warranty: According to US law, car manufacturers have a duty to ensure parts are safe. This implied warranty provides the theory of breach of warranty in these cases.
Manufacturers and mechanics alike will try to show that the part was not responsible for the accident. It is necessary to have a strong attorney on your side to handle negotiations and take the case to trial if necessary.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation in Your Car Accident Case
As you can see, car accidents are made more complicated when a mechanical failure is involved in the accident. Although it is said that mechanical failures only represent 2% of accidents, it is the biggest cause of car accidents aside from human error.
If you were in a car wreck and suspect that your vehicle or the other driver’s vehicle had a defective part, contact us today for a free consultation. We will be happy to review your case.