Car accidents occur every day, and for different reasons. Usually, people think of negligent drivers and poor weather conditions as some of the top causes of car accidents, and while these factors can be the cause of car crashes, there is another cause of car accidents that can be somewhat surprising: car defects. After all, we expect that the cars we drive in are built with the highest safety standards in mind, and we don’t expect that the basic components of vehicles, especially the ones that are meant to protect us, can actually fail. When this does happen, it can result in a product liability lawsuit.
Based on actual past examples, cars can be defective in a number of ways. For example, several years ago, Toyota had to recall millions of vehicles for a wide array of issues, including faulty gas pedals, braking issues, fuel pump problems, and other serious safety concerns. Additionally, the NHTSA is currently investigating over 200 complaints of non-collision fires, as well as melted wires and burning odors in a number of Kia and Hyundai vehicles that were manufactured from 2011-2014. Another current investigation includes false activation of the Automatic Emergency Braking system in 2017-18 Nissan Rogues.
When car defects are suspected, the NHTSA will perform the following steps as part of its evaluation process:
- Preliminary Evaluation (PE): This allows issues to be screened quickly
- Engineering Analysis (EA): This step will determine the extent of the defect(s)
- Formal Investigation (Case): The final decision is made regarding the defect(s)
In some cases, car manufacturers will voluntarily recall affected vehicles if they suspect any crucial issues. Other times, a car manufacturer may be forced to recall certain vehicles if reports reveal consistent defects. Car defects can raise safety concerns for a number of different reasons. Certain types of car defects may actually cause car accidents: for example, faulty brakes can make it difficult or impossible for a driver to effectively brake in a defective vehicle, which then results in an accident. Other times, defective car parts may not be the direct cause of the accident, but vehicle occupants are injured or killed in accidents as a result of a defective vehicle. A common example of this is defective airbags. If airbags do not deploy in a car during a collision when they are supposed to, the occupants may end up sustaining much more severe injuries as a result—injuries that could have possibly been prevented.
Car recalls often happen before any serious accident or injury has occurred, whether it is a direct result of consumer reports or voluntary recalls that car manufacturers issue if they want to be extra cautious about a particular problem. Consumers who own or lease those vehicles are notified and are typically given the opportunity to have the defective part(s) repaired. However, this is not always the case when it comes to the timing of car recalls. In other scenarios, a car make and model may be recalled when it’s too late, and only after someone has been injured or killed as a direct result of that defective vehicle.
If a defective part of your car or another driver’s car resulted in an auto accident, you may be working with an attorney and currently be in the middle of a product liability lawsuit. At USClaims, we understand that waiting for a lawsuit to settle can be difficult, but we may have a solution for those with qualifying cases: pre-settlement funding. Also known as a lawsuit advance, USClaims gives plaintiffs the opportunity to receive some money sooner to help with life’s expenses. Contact us today to find out if your lawsuit is eligible and to get started.