In the past twenty years, the cars, trucks, and SUVs we rely on to get us to and from work have become more technologically advanced than they ever were before. However, not only have they advanced technically but now heavily rely on technology to keep occupants safe. That said, the increased reliance on technology in vehicles has meant that even minor defects and bugs can lead to devastating accidents. It is also one reason why instances of companies recalling vehicles have more than doubled in recent years.
Some of the most serious and often fatal accidents caused by vehicle defects which have led to recalls include:
- The Ford Explorer’s Firestone tire tread separation issue which led to the car rolling over
- The Takata’s exploding airbag issue mainly in Hondas but other manufacturers were also affected
- GM’s ignition switch problem which could potentially kill people
- The Lexus which suffered from unintended acceleration
- Mini-Coopers and BMWs which were inherent fire risks
The problem with safety recalls is that they are often too late for families or people who have lost someone. It is only when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration deems a vehicle to be unreasonably safe, or perhaps fails their minimum safety standard, that it leads to a recall. Also, it may lead to a recall if a defect is later identified, the NHS will notify the manufacturer to send out recall notices or offer to fix the issue for free.
Common Car Defects That Lead to Accidents
A multitude of car defects can lead to accidents. Below is a short list of the most common faults that lead to accidents:
- Airbags failure to deploy: Some common issues include airbags not deploying at the time of an accident. It goes without saying that regardless of who is at fault; if the airbags don’t deploy it is jeopardizing the lives of everyone on board.
- Airbags deploying when they shouldn’t: If the airbags deploy when you only suffer a small tap or perhaps a minor hit, that can be annoying. If anything, airbags unnecessarily deploying can cause bruises and bumps but if you’re driving it can lead to an accident.
- Airbags that deploy either with too much force or too fast: Airbags like these can cause injuries. The job of an airbag is to cushion an impact from the accident not make it worse. If the airbags deploy with more force than needed, it can break bones in the face and neck, which could lead to death.
- Unbuckling seatbelts: Faulty seatbelts are known to unbuckle during an accident. A seatbelt is the foundation of vehicular safety. If the belt happens to unlatch, the person will be injured seriously or possibly killed.
- Seatbelts that break: If the seatbelts break or they fail during an accident, these too can cause death or severe injury.
- Collapsing roofs: During a rollover, a roof that collapses can cause severe injury. Modern cars and trucks are designed with roll bars that offer protection when the vehicle rolls over. Though if these bars fail, the driver’s side is the most vulnerable, and that leads to serious injury or even death.
- Vehicular fire: Generally, this is caused by a failure of the electrical system or a defect. Though this defect is rare, it does happen. If a vehicle spontaneously combusts, it’s a sure sign of a defect.
- Unintended acceleration: When you lose control of a vehicle’s acceleration, it leads to a terrifying situation, and it is equally dangerous.
- Brake failure: Now this is just as bad as the car accelerating on its own. The brakes are the most basic safety feature, and if it does not work, then it will lead to serious accidents.
- Power steering issues: Even though the power steering failing does not mean the steering itself fails, but it requires a lot more force, especially all of a sudden. That extra force requirement can catch drivers off guard and lead to accidents.
- Tire Failure: Exploding tires can easily cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle. The issue is often caused by improper tread wear, which could lead to bad gas mileage and steering issues.
- Miscellaneous defects: A lot can go wrong in a modern vehicle; many of these issues can be fatal or extremely dangerous. However, in the majority of cases, they lead to monetary and aesthetic losses. Regardless, it is a defect.
How to Avoid Being in a Serious Accident Caused by an Automotive Defect
The first step is to make sure that you are aware of all and any recalls for your particular vehicle. Here is what you should do:
- Your vehicle’s VIN, registration, and address should be up to date in the manufacturer’s database so that you receive a notification.
- You can also use the car’s VIN number to search for vehicles that were recalled here: https://www.safercar.gov and also here: https://www.nhtsa.gov/
- You will want to report any defects or other issues to the dealer you purchased from and find out if there were any recalls
What To Do In The Event You’re In An Accident Caused By A Vehicular Defect?
If you are in an accident that was caused by an automotive defect, the most important thing to do is to preserve all evidence to support a claim for compensation. You will want to take pictures, make a video, and collect any other forms of data. You will also want to track down your vehicle even if it has been impounded. Make sure that the car stays the way it is until an attorney has advised you otherwise. Possibly store the vehicle in a location that’s secure, so that your attorney or their investigators can examine it.
Litigation involving car accidents caused by defects is complex and may require the assistance as well as the testimony of people who are automotive technicians. Make sure that you have a competent and experienced car accident attorney who has the resources to investigate as well as prepare to litigate on your behalf.
Types of Lawsuits for an Accident Caused by a Vehicle Defect
If you were injured by a vehicle or in a car that was defective, it is important that you pursue justice via what’s called a product liability lawsuit, in addition to a car accident lawsuit. As mentioned earlier, it is a complex process since car insurance, and car companies have some of the best lawyers working on their behalf. Plus, they have immense resources at their disposal.
The only way to make sure that you get rightful compensation is via a thorough investigation, an aggressive law firm that has a team of auto experts. Most law firms and attorneys will be upfront about what outcome can be expected.
Almost every road in the Greater Los Angeles area and even in many other major cities of the US are laden with defects. You have everything from sheer neglect to roads under construction and those where paving is long past due. Furthermore, regardless of if you go to Alvarado, or live in Wilshire or any place else for that matter, there are bound to be over a dozen potholes dotted across most of these deteriorating roads. Bad or defective roads are unfortunately the norm.
According to an LA Times article, the conditions of roads across California, in general, is at an all-time low. While mayors running for election tend to promise better roads, they rarely if ever seem to materialize.
The Most Common Road Defects You’ll Encounter
Road defects are a continued threat to our safety. Some of the most common defects can lead to catastrophic and often tragic auto accidents. These defects include:
- Poorly designed roadways and intersections
- No shoulder
- A rundown shoulder
- A drop off shoulder
- Buildup of gravel and oil
- Some roads don’t have traffic signals
- Traffic signals that don’t work
- Construction zone markers that aren’t clearly marked
- Drainage that leads to water pooling on the road
- Sections of the road that are not lit
- Improperly designed edge lines, highway divisions and the all so common lane striping
- Badly designed curves
- No smooth grading
- No guardrails
Who Should Be Sued if You’re in an Injury Caused by Road Defects?
Regardless of if the accident involved multiple cars, or just a single car colliding, if the cause was poor road design, then it is the public entity responsible for it who should be held liable. A seasoned attorney who has handled similar cases will know who to sue and most of all, how best to investigate the case, then analyze the data that allows for solid litigation.
The case is usually built and litigated based upon a mountain of pattern data as well as knowledge of all accidents that were similar in nature and possibly on the same road.
Defective or Faulty Repairs
You will want to figure out how a faulty repair led to the accident you were in. The goal is to prove liability against what most probably was a negligent mechanic. Once you can prove that, you’ll win the lawsuit.
Many of us rely on our vehicles to get to and from work, in addition to carrying out numerous other tasks. That said, our vehicles rely a lot on the auto mechanic to do their job and make sure that the repairs are safe. It is the job of the mechanic to ensure that everything is running. That’s why when they (our mechanics) have our cars in for service it should be returned in perfect shape. In reality, things don’t always work as they should.
How to Avoid Accidents Caused by Faulty Repairs
Now faulty repairs are either intentional, or they can be caused by negligence. Regardless, these include deficient mechanical fixes, incorrect diagnosis of an issue, incorrect wiring, using low-quality parts, failure to reassemble the vehicle property etc.
Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to help avoid getting into an accident caused by incorrect repairs:
- Check the mechanic’s certificates and license. If you’re in California, then contact the Bureau of Automotive Repair.
- The garage or facility should be friendly, orderly and clean.
- Check the mechanic’s Yelp reviews.
- You will also want to check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), AMRA and the Automotive Service Association.
You can avoid a lot of trouble by choosing the best possible mechanic with a proven track record. That said accidents do happen and often they may be caused by incorrect repairs. If that happens despite your best efforts, you need to contact an attorney right away.
Proving the Accident Was Caused by Faulty Repair
If you are the injured party, our justice system requires that you prove negligence which in this case is of the mechanic. Keep in mind that it is a complex process. It will require that the attorney:
- Have evidence proving it was faulty repair
- Be able to link the faulty repair to the accident
- Link the faulty repair to the accident and then to the injuries you suffered
Many of us take road trips during the summer with friends and family. Those of us living in LA will usually go to Malibu, Big Bear, and Disneyland amongst a couple of other spots around the county. However, summer is also the season of tire blowouts, and statics prove that most of these blowouts happen during summer, i.e. between May and October. The two factors causing blowouts are the summer heat and long-distance driving at high speeds carrying loads.
Here are a couple of reasons why tries blowout:
- Either a lack of air pressure or too much of it.
- Worn out tires, or ones that are used past their expiration date increase the odds of a blowout.
- The tires being impacted by screws, nails, and various other objects.
- Defective tires.
- Loading a vehicle with more weight than it can handle. Always make sure that you know the vehicle’s Gross Vehicular Weight Rating.
Handling Tire Blowouts Safety
A tire blowout is hard to miss owing to the loud explosion associated with it. Some drivers report the steering wheel shaking and the car pulling to the side of the exploded tire. However, as the driver, what you do within the next few seconds is important. Here is what experts say:
- Make sure that you have both hands on the wheel
- Drive straight until the drag on the vehicle slows its speed and it is under 30 mph
- Don’t brake
- Don’t attempt to steer your vehicle
Liability and Compensation for a Tire blowout
Multiple people could be liable for a tire blowout which include the tire designer, the manufacturer, mechanic, or the government entity if it was the road that caused the tire to blow. If you have been involved in a tire blowout related accident, you’ll want to get in touch with a car accident lawyer right away. However, if you’re on the spot, make sure to take pictures of the tires, road, and all other cars involved in the accident. The more proof you have, the easier it is to get compensated or the lawyer to put together an ironclad lawsuit against those responsible for the accident.