Mechanical Failure, Defective Auto Parts and Car Accidents
Are you liable for the damages suffered in a car accident if the crash was caused by a mechanical failure? In some cases, no, you may not be held responsible for these types of accidents. If a vehicle owner takes care to maintain their car such as taking it in for smog checks, changing the brakes when necessary, rotating the tires and changing the oil, then it can be assumed that they took reasonable care to avoid an accident caused by mechanical failure. If you were injured in this type of accident, you may be dealing with a case of auto product liability.
A Houston car accident lawyer at Stern Law Group can offer experienced guidance if you were involved in a collision that was caused by a defective auto part or poorly designed vehicle. These cases can be complex and difficult, as we must go up against large auto manufacturers, but we have the resources and experience to provide the level of counsel a victim needs.
Types of Auto Product Liability
This is an area of the law where product liability meets the standard car accident case. There are hundreds of different mechanical components that make up the entirety of a vehicle, and any one of them has the potential to cause an accident if it doesn't perform as intended. If this describes your case, who can you potentially bring a lawsuit against?
The Car Manufacturer
In some instances, a vehicle malfunction is directly the responsibility of the manufacturer of the car, such as Toyota or Hyundai. In recent years, for example, Toyota had to recall thousands of their cars because of something called "unintended acceleration" that had to do with floor mats.
The Part Manufacturer
If the issue is not with the car manufacturer, but rather an outside part manufacturer, then you can bring a lawsuit against that particular company. For example, you may have purchased a particular brand of muffler that later failed due to a defect in the muffler's design.
An Automobile Repair Shop
It happens far too often, but your automobile repair shop may have overlooked a vital mechanical issue that later caused an accident. If you believe that your automobile repairman was negligent in the inspection of your vehicle, then you might be able to file a claim.
The Car Dealer
Although this is typically not the case with new cars, sellers of used cars may be dishonest about the history of the vehicle in order to get more money for a particular vehicle. If a known defect was intentionally concealed, then you may have a case.
The Part Retailer
If you purchased a car part from a seller, whether online, at an automobile repair shop or an independent retailer and that particular part failed, that person or company may be considered liable for an ensuing accident.
Most Common Mechanical Failures
Although virtually anything can go wrong with a vehicle, there are some that are far more common than others. These are:
- Brake Failure: Vehicle owners should take care to regularly check their brakes. If brake pads are worn down too thin, the brakes can fail suddenly while the vehicle is in motion.
- Tire Blowouts: New tires should be placed on a car depending on how many miles are on the tires as well as how old the tires are. If the tread is worn down and the rubber is beginning to split, it is likely time to replace or at least rotate them.
- Head and Tail Lights: Head and tail lights let other drivers know where your vehicle is and when you are stopping. Broken tail lights, for example, can result in a rear-end accident.
- Failed Steering: Few things are more terrifying than when you are turning your steering wheel but your car isn't moving in the direction you intended. Whether this is an issue of car realignment or something more serious, failed steering can cause a bad accident.
- Defective Windshield Wipers: Sometimes, windshield wipers are the only thing keeping drivers steady on the road when there is heavy rain or snow. These should be replaced frequently to avoid poor vision.
If you are the victim of mechanical failure and you were seriously injured in a car accident, speak with an attorney from our firm. Our team of Houston personal injury lawyers have assisted many clients who were victims of car accidents as well as victims of product liability. These are both issues that require the assistance of a legal professional, and Stern Law Group is prepared to deliver. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case and we can explain the steps that you might be able to take. If you are able to take action against an auto product manufacturer, then we will fight so that you receive maximum financial compensation. To learn more, please contact our firm today!