Not all car accidents are the driver’s fault. Many crashes occur because you or another driver were behind the wheel of a defective vehicle. Something was inherently wrong with the car or one of its parts. This flaw led to the accident, which caused your injuries. Regardless of who owned the defective vehicle, a determination must be made as to who will compensate you for your physical, psychological, and financial injuries.
At Cates Mahoney, LLC, our experienced Belleville product liability lawyers are ready to help. Call us today at 618-277-3644, or contact us online for a free case consultation.
Types of Defects
Not all defects are the same. Flaws arise in various ways, which can be important to determining liability and proving your claim for compensation.
Types of defects include:
- Manufacturing defects- This type of flaw arises during the manufacturing or assembly process. A part or vehicle is not created in accordance with its intended design, making the part or vehicle hazardous and more likely to cause injury.
- Design defects- A vehicle or its parts can be designed in an unsafe manner. The parts or vehicle are created as intended, but this design is inherently dangerous when used.
- Warning defects- A part or vehicle can be designed and manufactured properly, yet still create a risk of injury. These parts or vehicles require instructions and warning labels to protect consumers from potential hazards.
If you believe your injuries were caused by a defective vehicle or car part, contact our product liability lawyers immediately. An in-depth investigation is necessary to determine what caused the crash, why the defect existed, and who is responsible for that defect. We are prepared to work with the authorities, other parties involved with the crash, and accident experts to gather this information and evidence to support your claim.
Common Vehicle Defects
Certain issues have been seen in vehicles regularly in recent years, including defective:
- Brakes or brake lines
- Door latches
- Emergency brakes
- Fuel pumps
- Ignition switches
- Seat belts
The defect that led to your crash may not fit neatly into any of these categories, but you still have the right to pursue compensation from the responsible parties. The fact that the relevant defect is not common is not a barrier to recovering damages.
Who is Responsible for a Vehicle Defect?
The party responsible for the defect that caused your accident can depend on a number of factors. However, very often you will turn to the maker of the defective vehicle for compensation. If the pertinent issue was a manufacturing defect, you may also need to file a claim against the manufacturer of that specific part. Other possible defendants include car dealerships or any other party responsible for the vehicle and/or individual parts throughout the supply chain.
Recovering Compensation After a Defective Vehicle Accident
There are different types of claims you may pursue to recover compensation after a defective vehicle crash – strict liability and negligence.
For a strict liability claim, you are asserting that the other party is liable for your injuries because they are responsible for the defect. You are not proving that the other party did anything wrong. They are simply responsible due to their relationship to or ownership of the defect.
A negligence-based claim is different. You need to prove the other party was careless or reckless in their design, creation, or sale of the defective vehicle or part. You and your attorney must provide evidence that the defendant failed to act reasonably, causing the defect that ultimately led to your injuries.
Whether you file a claim based on strict liability or negligence, you can seek compensation for:
- Loss of income
- Loss of quality of life
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (in some cases)
Was There a Recall?
A common issue within defective vehicle cases is whether or not there was a recall related to the pertinent defect prior to your accident. If there was a public recall regarding the defect and the owner of the defective car had the opportunity to have it checked and fixed, the manufacturer, automaker, or other defendant may not be entirely liable for your injuries.
If you were the owner of the defective vehicle and ignored a recall related to your car, the defendants may argue your own negligence contributed to the crash and your injuries. Under Illinois’ theory of comparative negligence, if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you cannot recover any compensation from the other parties.
However, not pursuing the recall does not automatically make you more than half responsible. An insurer or court may find you a small percentage at fault for the accident based on not adhering to the recall. In this situation, your financial recovery will be decreased by your percentage of responsibility.
Our Belleville Defective Vehicle Lawyers Are Here to Help
Were you or a loved one injured in a car accident? Contact the experienced attorneys of Cates Mahoney, LLC today. We have handled all types of car accident claims, including those based on manufacturing, design, and failure-to-warn defects. We are confident in our ability to investigate the accident and gather evidence on your behalf. We will then pursue all of the compensation you deserve under the law.
To learn more about your options after a defective vehicle accident, contact us online or call 618-277-3644 to schedule a free consultation.