My Car is Defective and Caused an Accident, What Can I Do?

Automobiles are safer today than they ever have been. Airbags, seat belts, crumple zones, computers that monitor road and vehicle conditions, and many other features help to keep drivers and passengers out of accidents all together, or protect health and safety if one does occur. But sometimes those systems are improperly manufactured or installed. Sometimes after-market additions interfere with their proper function.

Whatever the case, when a car or one of its components is defective and causes an accident, what can you do and who is to blame?

The first, and most obvious target of such cases is the automaker. If the manufacturer improperly installed a component or inadequately designed an entire system or vehicle, such that it resulted in the accident, you may have a claim against that manufacturer. Automakers, just like any other manufacturer, is obligated to provide you with a product that is reasonably fit for its intended purpose. In the case of a vehicle, that means they make a car that is safe to drive regularly. Common vehicle defects that can cause car accidents include defective computer systems that cause sudden unexpected acceleration, defective braking systems, defective tires, and many more. A number of cases have been filed regarding these very defects in recent years, and many have even been reported on in the news. This information can be not only informative as to what you should do in the event of a similar accident, but also may be a warning about a potentially defective condition in your car that you may want to have an expert remedy before an accident occurs.

Aside from the manufacturer of the car, you may also have claims against other parties. For example, if the vehicle was used when you bought it, and sold with a warranty, the car lot where the vehicle was purchased may have some fault in causing the defect or failing to detect it. In other cases, if the component that failed can be identified as a specific supplier for the automaker, you might be able to target them directly, as well, potentially improving your odds of recovery by identifying multiple defendants with whom you may be able to settle or pursue all the way to trial if need be.

Another source of recovery is available to those who install after-market parts that fail, resulting in accidents. It is not uncommon for one to install different tires, headlights, taillights, suspension, and other systems to improve the look or performance of a vehicle. But, not all of these parts are made to the same standards of quality or designed to be as compatible with your vehicle as the original parts. As a result, the manufacturers of the parts might have some liability. However, those who sold and installed the parts to you may also be liable. This is especially true if it is their recommendation to use the parts for your vehicle, particularly if the component is not a proper part for your car model or intended application, induced you to buy the part and have them install it.

As a result, if you have been injured in an accident caused by a defective vehicle part, do not assume that there is no way for you to get recovery. Even if no other vehicles are involved in the accident, defective parts on your car are often to blame for an accident. Whether installed by the original manufacturer or purchased after-market, you may have a valid claim by which you can recover some or all of your losses resulting from the damage to your vehicle, other property and people, and injuries to yourself and others.

To maximize your chances of success, and to consider all options for recovery of damages resulting from a defective part, you should contact an attorney in your area experienced with vehicle accidents and product liability claims. You can find attorneys in your area by using the Law Firms page of and searching by your location.

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Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws they may affect a case.

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