Defective Products Cause Car Accidents

Automobile manufacturers must ensure that the products they sell to the general public function in the ways that they are advertised and are not dangerous to those who drive them. When a car crash is caused by defective products, the outcome is typically devastating and deadly.

Any victim of a devastating car accident caused by a faulty automobile should enlist the aid of a detective product lawyer specializing in car crashes caused by mechanical defects to help he or she file a lawsuit to seek justice and fair compensation for his or her suffering.

Faulty brakes, accelerators, cruise control and tires are common causes of car accidents; other defective parts designed and implemented to keep passengers safe can injure or kill under the wrong circumstances.

Car defect claims can be based on numerous parts of the motor vehicle in question, including the transmission, the steering and suspension systems, the exhaust, fuel and lubrication systems, the brakes, the body and the frame and the accessory features.

The Importance of Strict Liability for Car Defects

Vehicle manufacturer’s and distributor’s responsibility for faulty products is controlled by the doctrine of strict liability, which means that if a defective product attorney can prove that:

  1. the vehicle in question or one of its parts had an unreasonably hazardous defect that caused injury
  2. the injury in question was caused while the car was being used in an appropriate way
  3. the vehicle in question had not been seriously altered from the original sales condition at the time of the injury

Then – regardless of any steps taken in the design, manufacture or handling of the motor vehicle – the designer, manufacturer or retailer is solely responsible for the harm caused.

Common Defects that Lead to Car Crashes

Although it is possible for almost any defect to lead to a car collision, certain defects are more likely to cause an automotive crash.

Unintended Acceleration

Unintended and sudden acceleration caused by a shifting problem or a sticky gas pedal is a highly dangerous situation for a driver, and one that is widely known because of the recent recall of many Toyota vehicles.

In the case of sudden acceleration, defective product attorneys should have no difficulty demonstrating strict liability and securing just compensation for the victim of a car crash caused by this problem.

Brake Failure

Brake failure is exceptionally dangerous that can not only cause harm to those inside the faulty vehicle, but can lead to the death of pedestrians and other drivers close to the car without brakes. Brake failure can be difficult to pinpoint as a by defective product issue, but if the manufacturer was indeed responsible they will be held under strict liability.

Car “Crashworthiness”

All cars are expected to uphold a standard of safety in the event of a crash. This is known as “crashworthiness” and defined as the ability of a motor vehicle to prevent the occupants from injury and harm during and after a collision.

Drivers and passengers are at risk of experiencing a “second collision” against the objects inside a vehicle and the vehicle’s interior walls after a collision with a car or stationary object; many aspects of a car’s design are implemented to prevent these secondary collisions.

The purpose of seat belts, headrests, air bags, roll bars, side-impact protections and crumple zones are to minimize the injuries of the passengers, reduce the risk of a fire after a collision and prevent the car occupants from being ejected out of the vehicle into further harm.

Unfortunately, the safety features themselves – when defective – can be extremely dangerous and even cause fatalities with or without a crash.

Head restraints are either adjustable or integral parts of the seat backs. Adjustable head restraints are separate pads attached to the seat back on sliding metal shafts, which can be adjusted to suit the head height and position of the passenger occupying the seat.

Integral head restraints are simply an extension of the seat back that is high enough to provide support for the back of the head.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) sets the standards for head restraint safety and requires that integral and adjustable head pads are a minimum of 27 1/2 inches above the seating reference point when the seat is in the fully extended position and that they do not allow the torso and the head to go beyond a 45-degree angle during forward movement at a certain speed.

According to many of the professional defective product lawyers, if there is a problem with the head restraints in a car, it is unlikely to cause an accident but is more apt to lead to serious neck injuries in the event of a collision.

Air bags are considered passive restraint systems, which do not require any human assistance to effectively function and protect vehicle passengers. Front air bags are designed to deploy in the event of a head-on collision while side air bags are designed to deploy in a side collision.

Defective air bags are quite dangerous and can cause accidents if they deploy unexpectedly and for no reason while driving. Defective air bags are also capable of causing severe injuries – even deaths – and are especially hazardous to small children and infants.

Car seats are expected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to be able to withstand 3,300 pounds of impact force in a collision. Car seats are complicated, with multiple aspects such as seat adjusters, seat tracks, seat anchors and seat backs, all of which have the potential to fail during a collision. Although dangerous after a collision, car seats themselves are not typically sources of a car crash.