Discussions about liability for car crashes almost always focus on the drivers involved. Frequently, collisions occur because motorists do something unsafe or illegal. They drive too fast, they forget to use their turn signal or they go the wrong way down to one-way street.
There are often insurance claims and lawsuits brought against those who do illegal and dangerous things at the wheel. But sometimes, liability may fall (partially or totally) to a third party, such as a vehicle manufacturer or a company that provides components to manufacturers. Defective vehicle parts could play one of two roles in a crash and may lead to a lawsuit against a business instead of – or in addition to – one of the people involved in the wreck. Defective vehicle components sometimes play the following roles in collisions.
They are the reason the crash occurs
Vehicle recalls occur for all kinds of reasons, including seemingly minor issues. A problem with the hood latch on a vehicle may not seem like it would cause a crash at first. However, if the hood comes loose while someone is on the freeway, they might suddenly lose visibility. The hood releasing could also affect the movement of the vehicle. Defects with vehicles may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle or may prevent them from doing what is necessary to avoid a collision, making the manufacturer of the part or vehicle at least partially to blame for the wreck.
They make the consequences of the crash worse
When safety systems don’t properly function, people in vehicles end up seriously hurt. Some of the largest recalls in recent years have involved defective safety equipment like airbags that fail to deploy or that explode when they deploy. Both of those malfunctions could lead to far worse injuries for the occupants of a vehicle than the crash would have caused on its own or if the safety devices had deployed properly. When the systems that people rely on to keep them safe in the event of a crash fail, collisions may lead to far worse injuries or even preventable deaths.
Those who file a claim against a manufacturer in addition to an insurance claim may be able to more fully recover their losses after a wreck. Connecting poor business practices with a car crash’s consequences may open up another avenue for compensation to the people affected by an injurious accident.