When Manufacturing Errors And Faulty Designs Contribute To Serious Injuries
All types of vehicles, from passenger sedans to big rigs, use finely crafted components and complicated systems to operate at peak conditions. In the best of times, these auto parts will keep us safe, secure, and comfortable as we go about our daily commutes. However, defective auto parts are common knowledge, especially after the notorious 2009-2011 Toyota recalls, which involved over 200 lawsuits. The reality of the matter is that, despite great advancements in auto vehicle safety standards, defective parts are a genuine danger for drivers and can contribute to a devastating accident.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury because of a faulty auto part, contact the Seattle defective auto part attorneys at Pendergast Law. Whether the faulty component or system directly led to your injuries or contributed to a collision, you may be eligible for compensation. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us toll-free at 888-539-9211.
Federal Regulations Regarding Auto Parts
All vehicles sold in the United States must pass multiple tests to determine if they are safe for consumers to use. Many of us know of the collision crash tests, but there are also extensive tests required by the federal government to evaluate electrical systems, fuel tank capacity, cooling systems, and safety measures. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) oversees many of these regulations and can issue a recall if it is determined that a vehicle or its components are likely to cause harm to the public.
The safety risks of an auto part are categorized in two ways:
- The defective component or system directly causes an accident, such as in the case of faulty brake pads, poorly designed suspensions, or improper airbag deployments; or
- The faulty part contributed to a driver or passengers’ injuries in an accident, such as a defective safety bar in a rollover or a seatbelt that does not fully secure the occupant.
When the NHTSA is made aware of a faulty auto part that can cause serious injuries to the public, they will issue a recall to pull every part off the market and require the manufacturer to provide replacement components or redesign the vehicle to prevent further accidents. However, this process is not automatic, and many drivers and passengers can suffer serious injuries before they initiate a recall.
Types Of Faulty Auto Parts
Because of how complex modern cars are, several different components or systems can lead to an injury. In some cases, the issue can be a faulty safety feature, while others may have caused the driver to lose control.
In an auto accident, your injuries may have been caused by:
- Defective tires that are prone to blowouts
- Seat belts that apply too little or too much restraint
- Airbags that fail to deploy in an accident or deploy at other times
- Accelerator pads that cause the pedal to stick
- Steering systems that lock up
- Faulty brakes systems
- Fuel tanks that are prone to fires
- Electrical systems that can shock occupants or cause fires
- Suspensions that are too low, causing a collision with an object in the road, or too high, causing rollovers
- Seats that do not lock in place, causing a sudden recline
- Components that break or fall from the vehicle
- Damaged safety bars on SUVs that lead to a roof collapse
- Damaged hinges that lead to a runaway trailer
When accessing your injuries and accident, our attorneys can review the accident report, maintenance logs, and safety reports to determine what caused the incident. In addition to a faulty part, other factors could have caused the accident, including reckless driving, fatigue, or dangerous road conditions. However, if it is determined that a design defect or faulty component caused your accident, you may be able to pursue compensation from one of several parties.
Who Is At Fault For Your Injuries?
Because we expect auto manufacturers to run their vehicles through multiple inspections and tests before allowing them to go to market, they are most likely to be liable for your injuries. With the Toyota recalls, the issue was so widespread that the fault primarily lay with Toyota, however, your case might not be this simple. Vehicles go through multiple parties before they reach consumers and faulty parts can come from a variety of sources.
If an auto defect contributed to your accident or injuries, the liable parties may include:
- Auto manufacturers
- Parts manufacturers
- Repair shops
- The company that transported the vehicle
Ultimately, to determine if you have a product liability claim based on a defective auto part, you will need to review your case with an experienced law firm that has the resources to pursue compensation from the at-fault parties.
Pursuing A Product Liability Claim In Washington
Shopping for a car is a complicated matter and many of us go to great lengths to get the right make and model for an affordable price. Every step of the way, we expect our vehicles to be safe and reliable on the road. When auto manufacturers, designers, and dealerships fail to maximize the safety of drivers and occupants, they can put everyone on the road at risk for catastrophic injuries and collisions.
If you or someone you loved were injured because of a defective auto part, then you should immediately contact the Seattle product liability attorneys at Pendergast Law. With over four decades of experience advocating for our clients’ best interests, we have the experience and knowledge to evaluate your case and determine if an auto manufacturer is liable for your injuries. Call us toll-free at 888-539-9211 to learn what options are available to you.