Not all road accidents are a motorist’s fault; some occur because of an unexpected problem or defect in the vehicle which causes the driver to lose control. Some examples are failed brakes, stuck accelerator, autopilot malfunction, and seat belt failure.
If you were in an accident caused by a malfunction in your own car or the one that hit you, the manufacturer or auto dealer can be held accountable to pay your medical bills and repair/replacement costs of the vehicle. Here is what you should do if your car malfunctions and causes a crash.
Learn what could have caused the accident
If the motorist (whether it’s you or the other driver) was not at fault and circumstances suggest that a defect could have caused the vehicle to crash, it’s important to educate yourself about such a possibility.
You should know that defective automobile design or faulty components can cause a car accident. These include everything from weak structure to faulty accelerator pedals (causing unintended speeding), defective ignition (causing the car to stall unexpectedly), stalled steering wheel or brakes, problems with an electrical component, faulty wipers, airbags failing to deploy, defective seatbelt, and the like.
If the accident was caused because the vehicle was not maintained properly, the individual or business that owns the vehicle may be held responsible for the crash. For example, in a collision involving a truck, the trucking company or the servicing company can be held accountable if it’s proved that poor maintenance led to the accident. Trucking companies are required to maintain a repair and servicing log, which can be used to learn the vehicle’s maintenance history.
Hire an experienced accident injury lawyer to protect your legal rights
While some auto accident claims can be settled without the help of a lawyer, it’s always advisable to have an experienced accident injury attorney represent you in such cases, as a legal professional is better equipped to deal with insurance adjusters and the other party’s lawyer in court.
In addition, seasoned accident injury attorneys know how to negotiate your rightful compensation by taking into account the financial as well as psychological and emotional losses you incurred because of the crash. While you’re recovering from your injuries and dealing with a damaged vehicle, loss of income and emotional distress, a qualified attorney can take the burden of negotiating a damages reward off your shoulders.
Collect sufficient evidence that the accident was caused by a malfunction
The first thing you should do is to report the accident to the police, your insurance company and your lawyer. The goal is to have the crash investigated by professionals at the earliest before any evidence is lost. Go for a medical examination even if you feel fine and didn’t suffer any injuries. Your medical records will come in handy in proving that you were not at fault (for example, you’ll have a medical document showing you weren’t drunk at the time of the crash).
If you’re in a position to do so, take several photos of the crash. Speak to other drivers or pedestrians if possible. To gain evidence, your attorney will examine your car along with a certified mechanic, and also contact any witnesses of the accident. The car manufacturer’s records may also be investigated to find out any known problems with the vehicle.
Check the history of vehicle recalls
Many recent vehicle recalls by well-known manufacturers were issued because of faulty electrical components. If your car company issued recalls in the past, that factor must be investigated to determine if it played a role in your accident.
What if there was never a recall from your car maker and it is discovered that the crash was caused by a malfunction? If your attorney can unearth strong evidence that the manufacturer was aware of the problem but did not do anything to fix it, the manufacturing company can be held liable for your losses. They may also have to bear punitive damages for deliberate misconduct.
If you or a fellow passenger sustained serious injuries in a car accident, consult a personal injury attorney to know what legal remedies are available and how you can get maximum compensation for your suffering. If a vehicle malfunction was one of the reasons behind the crash, your lawyer can help you notify the appropriate federal agency that may then investigate the matter and ask for a recall. This way you’ll have ensured that other motorists and pedestrians won’t have to endure the same trauma that you did.