The Role of Auto Defects in Car Accidents | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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Most auto collisions are attributable to driver error, but auto defects are a significant and often overlooked factor.
Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
August 9, 2023

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 932 vehicle safety recalls in 2022, affecting more than 30.8 million vehicles in the United States.

Auto defect-related accidents can be severe and even deadly. For instance, the Takata airbag recall affected over 40 million vehicles and was linked to hundreds of deaths and over 1,000 injuries.

Up to 1,000 car accidents a year are estimated to be related to auto defects. Unfortunately, many victims find it hard to prove a defect led to their accidents and losses.

Car Accidents Caused by Auto Defects

Today’s vehicles are increasingly complex, making it challenging to identify a specific defect as the cause of an accident. Even when a defect is identified, it can be hard to establish that it directly caused an accident. Multiple factors, including driver behavior and weather, may be at play.

Most auto defect car accidents are not adequately investigated. The parties involved often lack the expertise to evaluate how a defect influences a car accident. In addition, victims are often disadvantaged regarding the financial resources to investigate potential defects and the ability to preserve evidence.

Due to these challenges, if you were injured in a car accident and suspect a recalled auto part contributed somehow, it’s wise to consult an experienced attorney with a background in defective auto part cases.

Defects That Cause Car Crashes

While any faulty component can contribute to a collision, some auto defects are more likely than others to cause serious accidents. Here are some of the most common auto defects we’ve encountered:

  • Brake Defects
  • Steering and Suspension Defects
  • Airbag Defects
  • Tire Defects
  • Seat Belt Defects
  • Fuel System Defects
  • Defective Accelerators
  • Transmission Defects
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Defects

How Auto Defects Affect Liability

The NHTSA receives thousands of complaints a year about auto defects. This includes cars, tires, brakes, car seats, and other equipment. But holding manufacturers or designers accountable can be tricky.

Three types of defects could form the basis for legal liability: design, manufacturing, and warning defects. Injury victims must demonstrate three elements to establish liability for any of them. They must show the product or system was defective, the defect caused the accident, and the accident resulted in injuries or losses.

It’s often necessary to hire experts to attest to the presence of the defect and its connection to the accident. This is why lawsuits and claims involving defective auto parts require vigorous representation from qualified attorneys with extensive referral networks and experience with technical evidence.

Driver Responsibility vs. The Manufacturer

 One issue that frequently arises in auto defect cases is the drivers’ responsibility. Remember, if a driver hits you because they were speeding, they will likely be liable. But say they attempted to stop but couldn’t due to a faulty braking system. In that case, the company that designed, manufactured, or installed the brakes could be to blame.

A lot comes down to whether the defect was known or part of a recall. For instance, the manufacturer acknowledged an issue if a car part was recalled. This could strengthen your case. However, things get problematic if a driver is aware of and ignores the recall. In cases where the driver knew of the recall but failed to act, a court may determine that both parties share liability under Ohio’s comparative negligence law.

Speak to an Attorney if You Suspect an Auto Defect

Despite the frequency of auto recalls and peril related to defective cars, companies still place profits over safety. While auto defect cases can be more challenging than typical car accidents, it is critical to make reckless auto companies answer for their behavior.

If you or a loved one believe an auto defect contributed to your Ohio car accident and injuries, contact KNR for a free, no-risk consultation. Our Ohio injury lawyers will evaluate the details of your accident and explain what you may be entitled to recover.

Call 1-800-HURT-NOW today for a free consultation with an experienced Ohio car accident lawyer.