Car manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their auto parts are safe and function as intended. However, sometimes safety concerns arise long after the manufacturing process is over, months or even years after a vehicle hits the market.
When this happens, manufacturing companies issue a recall. To discuss your options if you have been injured in a car accident caused by an auto defect, call our award-winning Fort Worth car accident lawyers. We understand how life-changing an accident can be, and we use our knowledge, skills, and resources to win our clients the compensation they deserve for their injuries, lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
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Why Manufacturers Don't Always Advertise Their Recalls
While manufacturers do recall parts if enough problems are reported, they don't always do a good job of drawing attention to recall information. In fact, some manufacturers attempt to fly "under the radar" so consumers don't notice recalls or make a big deal about vehicle safety issues.
While major media outlets do occasionally pick up important recalls that involve a lot of vehicles or involve deadly car accidents, many recalls don't get this kind of attention. Because of this, drivers may be unaware that there's something potentially wrong with their vehicles.
Since you can't always rely on manufacturers to publicize their recalls, you should check recall information periodically to ensure your vehicle is safe.
Where To Find Out About Automobile and Part Recalls
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a database of recalls and product defects. You can check this database online to make sure your vehicle is not subject to a recall. The NHTSA site also includes an RSS feed that you can subscribe to in order to receive email or RSS reader updates on new recall information.
Common Car Defects that Lead to Recalls
- Airbags that don't deploy
- Airbags that deploy when they shouldn't
- Airbags that deploy with too much or too little force
- Seatbelts that don't stay fastened during an accident
- Weak roofs that collapse during a rollover car accident
- Faulty electric system that causes fires
- Sudden acceleration
- Brake failure
- Power steering failure
- Tire explosion or improper tire tread wear
What To Do If a Defective Car Part Causes an Accident
If you get into an accident because of a defective part, you have rights. For instance, if the auto manufacturer had not yet released recall information at the time of your accident, the manufacturer may be liable for the injuries and damages their faulty part caused.
First, keep all evidence from the accident. Anything that could support your claim (or help prove that a faulty car part caused your accident) should be saved. In addition, take pictures of the crash scene, the damaged car and any injuries, assuming you're well enough to do so. If not, ask a friend or family member to help you. It's very important.
Another piece of advice? Don't get your car repaired until you've hired an attorney. Fixing your car is like washing away the evidence, and you'll need the car in "faulty" condition for when your attorney has their experts come to inspect the defective parts.
Defective car part crashes are complicated; a lot of factors come into play. I would highly recommend consulting with an attorney before talking to the insurance companies or attempting to handle the manufacturer on your own.
Here's a bit of law talk 101. When you assign negligence, it's like saying, "The manufacturer caused the wreck, and they're responsible for paying for my damages and injuries."
However, pointing fingers isn't all it takes to assign negligence. You have to prove that some aspect of your vehicle was defective, either in design or because of a manufacturing error. This includes the testing and inspection of your vehicle prior to sale; if you believe your car didn't pass a safety test before entering the market, you'll need to prove it.
If you're able to show that the car manufacturer was negligent in some way and their mistake caused your car to wreck, you have a good claim and you also have a right to recover compensation.
What Is the At-Fault Manufacturer Responsible for Paying For?
After a faulty car part caused your wreck, you're no doubt wondering if the manufacturer will pay for the mess they caused.
In Texas, you're entitled to compensation for all past and future medical bills related to your injuries, reimbursement for lost salary (due to your inability to work because of hospital stays or injuries), for your damaged car, and compensation for physical pain, mental suffering and overall loss of enjoyment of life.
What if the Manufacturer Argues that the Wreck Is Partially Your Fault?
This is when it's up to your lawyer to establish strict liability. Strict liability means that you had no part in the crash, and that your injuries were a result of an inherent vehicle defect.
Essentially, once your attorney proves that the vehicle is defective, the manufacturer no longer has any right to point fingers back at you. They can't try to put some of the blame for the wreck on your shoulders; they're 100 percent at-fault.
Texas' Lemon Law: Recurring Mechanical Issues Make a Car Dangerous
In the U.S., there's a federal law that protects consumers who've bought a "faulty" car. Known as the "Lemon Law," this law specifically protects drivers whose car continues to have the same problem again and again (as long as the problem was caused by a manufacturer defect).
The Lemon Law protects drivers when the same issue requires fixing four or more times, the mechanical issue presents a hazard or danger to the occupants of the vehicle, the defect limits the use of the vehicle, the defect decreases the fair market value of the vehicle, or the vehicle has been in the repair shop for 30 days or more. The Lemon Law also applies to used motor vehicles, but only in cases where the manufacturer’s original warranty is still in effect.
If you or a family member has been injured in an auto accident caused by a defective automobile part, call a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer at Anderson Injury Lawyers at 817-717-4731 or contact us online for a free consultation.