Driver mistakes cause most car accidents. Still, a high number of other crashes have nothing to do with a driver’s negligence. Instead, these accidents result from automotive defects. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that as many as 44,000 car accidents occur each year due to vehicle defects.
In most car accident cases, you would file a claim against the negligent driver and seek compensation through the driver’s insurance coverage. If an auto defect caused the crash and/or injuries, you would turn elsewhere for compensation. Typically, you would sue the manufacturer of the defective part. However, you could also potentially file a product liability claim against a distributor who sold the part or a mechanic who put it on an automobile.
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., has the talent and resources to tackle defective auto parts cases for clients in Chicago and throughout Illinois. These cases often involve highly complex investigation and litigation. We can put our experience with challenging product liability cases to our clients’ advantage. Above all, we understand how these injuries impact the lives of our clients and their families. We want to help. Contact us today to learn more in a free consultation through our offices in Chicago and Waukegan.
How Defective Car Parts Cause Accidents and Injuries
Dangerous auto defects are much more common than most people realize. For instance, thousands of accidents can be attributed to defective tires, brakes, and steering columns. Tire problems, in particular, are estimated by the NHTSA to account for nearly 35 percent of defect-related crashes, while 22 percent of such accidents could be attributed to brake problems. Issues related to steering, suspension, transmissions, and engines are also responsible for thousands of accidents every year.
Problems with these parts can occur in a number of different ways. For instance:
- Braking system malfunctions often involve failed brake lines, issues with the hydraulic reservoir, leaking brake fluid, and brakes that lock unexpectedly.
- A car’s steering components can malfunction if the manufacturer negligently designed or assembled the power steering pump, hydraulic lines, or electrical systems.
- Defective tires can cause dangerous blowouts, especially those that are suffering from tread separation.
Even certain types of safety features can cause devastating injuries if they are defectively designed or assembled. Airbags that don’t deploy, for example, or that deploy with no warning can cause serious injuries to the face, head, and neck. Failed seatbelts are another commonly reported safety-related vehicle defect that occurs when the locking mechanism malfunctions. Fortunately, the companies that are responsible for manufacturing safety equipment can be held liable for resulting damages if their negligence can be linked to the accident.
How Can a Recall Impact Your Car Accident Claim?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues vehicle safety standards. Manufacturers must comply with those rules. If the NHTSA discovers safety defects, the agency can require the manufacturer to recall or repair defective products that it already sold. Since 1966, the NHTSA reports, vehicle safety defect recalls in our country have involved:
- More than 390 million vehicles
- 66 million vehicle parts
- 46 million tires
- 42 million child car seats.
Many manufacturers voluntarily initiate recalls, or they initiate a recall due to the request of an agency such as the NHTSA. The recall typically involves coverage of the repair it takes to fix the vehicle defect or to replace the part altogether. The NHTSA gives the following as examples of common safety defects which lead to recalls:
- Steering components (partial or total loss of control)
- Fuel system components (leaks, fires and explosions)
- Accelerator controls (break or stick)
- Wheels that crack or break (loss of control)
- Wiring system problems (loss of lighting)
- Air bags that improperly deploy
- Child safety seats with defective belts, buckles or other components.
You can pursue compensation for your injuries in a defective car part claim regardless of whether the manufacturer recalled the part. However, if your case involves a part which the manufacturer did recall, then the recall date will potentially be important. It may trigger the deadline for filing certain types of claims. If you already know that the part which played a role in your case has been recalled, you should contact a lawyer right away.
An Experienced Defective Auto Parts Lawyer Can Help You
Many auto part manufacturers will attempt to avoid liability by blaming the driver or another individual. That’s why investigations are extremely important. The evidence that they uncover is crucial to establishing liability.
When an experienced product liability attorney reviews your case, the attorney will examine different types of liability such as:
- Strict liability – This applies to defective products that are sold or leased and could be expected to cause an injury. These claims don’t require proof of a lack of care or unreasonable conduct.
- Breach of warranty – This type of claim requires proof that the product did not do what it was intended to do.
- Failure to warn – Injured parties can also attempt to hold manufacturers, distributors, and retailers liable if their accident and injuries can be linked to their failure to warn about certain risks associated with a product.
Getting help from an experienced product liability attorney is crucial to a case’s success. Auto parts companies will aggressively defend a case and protect their interests. You need a lawyer by your side who will have the skill and insight to effectively protect you and your rights.
Our Chicago Defective Car Parts Attorneys Are Ready to Help You
In most product liability cases, injured parties have only two years to file a claim with the at-fault party. However, if the victim did not sustain any physical injuries, but only suffered property damage, he or she will have five years to file suit.
Illinois also has a statute of repose in place. It bars product liability cases from being filed if they are based on the legal doctrine of strict liability and are not commenced within:
- 12 years from the first sale or delivery of the product by the seller; or
- 10 years from the date of the first sale, lease, or delivery to the initial user.
The statute of repose applies only to strict liability claims and not claims based on a breach of warranty or negligence. These deadlines are extremely important. So, to ensure that you file your own claim on time, you should strongly consider contacting an attorney right away. To speak with an experienced defective products lawyer about your case, contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., today. We never charge for initial consultations.