When parts in your vehicle are defective, this reality can either cause a car accident or render the damage associated with the accident worse than it would have been otherwise. People who are injured in car accidents typically have the right to seek monetary damages from the party or parties responsible for the accident. This is the case if a defective auto part caused or contributed to the cause(s) of a crash. But, as an experienced personal injury lawyer – including those who practice at The Morales Law Firm – can confirm, it isn’t always easy to tell whether a defective part played a role in a crash. As a result, it is important to avoid admitting blame for a crash – or otherwise making assumptions about crash causation and fault – until after your case has been reviewed by a knowledgeable attorney. 

What Is a Defective Car Part?

A defective part is one that is flawed in some way and doesn’t do what it is supposed to do. There are several different types of defects. There may be a flaw in the design itself, in which case the same defect will affect every vehicle that contains the part. Sometimes the design is sound but something goes wrong during the manufacturing process. This type of defect is much less predictable.

What Are Some Common Automotive Defects?

Unfortunately, it is fairly common for defective parts to go undetected and for vehicles containing them to reach the hands of consumers. Some examples of defects that have occurred with some frequency include the following:

  • Brake failure
  • Unintended acceleration
  • Electrical system defects resulting in fires

Other examples of common defects include roofs that cannot withstand the force of a rollover crash and collapse, seatbelts that unbuckle, and airbags that deploy improperly or do not deploy at all.

What Is Done in Response to Automotive Defects?

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is a federal agency authorized to either issue safety recalls or compel the manufacturer to do so if it receives enough complaints about a safety issue in a particular vehicle. In many cases, the manufacturer is not aware of the defect when the vehicle goes to market. Upon finding out about the defect, the manufacturer may issue its own voluntary recall.

Whom Can You Hold Responsible for an Accident Caused by a Defective Part?

Generally speaking, when it comes to product liability, everyone involved in getting the defective product into the hands of the consumer may be held responsible for injuries that occurred because of the defect. If a part in your car is defective, this can include the part’s designer, manufacturer, and the company who marketed it without proper warnings. It may also be able to hold the dealership that sold you the car or the mechanic who installed the defective part liable.