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Car Accidents Caused By Mechanical Failure

mechanical failure

“Under the hood”by cbowns is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Mechanical failure can lead to serious car accidents. Additionally, they can act as a contributing factor that may lead minor accidents into major disastrous events. Examples of mechanical malfunctions include

  • brake failure,
  • broken airbags,
  • airbags that injure,
  • defective tires,
  • defective accelerators or
  • seat belts that don’t work.

For example, seat belts that doesn’t work can be dangerous to everyone. It can affect the driver and the passengers in the car. Defective seat belt may fail to tighten appropriately or could unlatch unexpectedly.

If you are hurt in a car accident due to a mechanical malfunction, you have the option to sue the manufacture or the seller of your vehicle to recover for damages. Generally, if it is a design defect, then it may affect the entire line of products. However, if a manufacturing defect occurred during the construction or production, then that usually effects just one your car.

Determining the Cause of a Mechanical Failure Accident

Each state has specific rules for how to determine the cause of an accident. However, generally, an experienced personal injury lawyer, like the attorneys at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. will look at how the owner has treated the car and if the manufacturer knows of any issues.

First, the vehicle owner may know about underlying problems that involved repairs by a mechanic. Drivers may know of issues beforehand but either cannot afford to fix them, cannot restore them or refuse to repair the issue. Due to knowledge and action that directly result in traffic incidences, the driver or owner can be held at fault. If an owner or mechanic fails to fully repair a car, liability may lie with the owner and the mechanic. However, if the defect affects the vehicle, the manufacturer could be at fault. An attorney will look into the recall history for the vehicle and also investigate unknown defects. In these instances, the driver or mechanic may not know about the problems.

Depending on the state, strict liability may apply for mechanical failure accidents. Under the strict liability theory, a plaintiff must prove that a defective part left by the manufacturer or seller was created an unreasonably dangerous condition. Unreasonably dangerous means that the product presents more danger that expected by the ordinary consumer. The plaintiff must also prove that the defendant caused the accident.

In other cases, an accident victim may need to show negligence. Under the negligence theory, the injured victim must show that

  • the defendant owed a duty of care,
  • the defendant breached its duty of care,
  • actual and proximate causation, and
  • that the victim suffered from actual damages due to the breach.

Generally, negligence theory may be harder to prove then strict liability.

What Are Mechanical Failures You Should Watch For?

Examples of mechanical failures that you can solve for your own vehicle can include:

1. Brakes
When brake pads begin making noises or no longer function at full value, replace  them.

2. Tires
Experts recommend getting new tires every six years. If you hit curbs or potholes or have bumpier roads, have professional inspect them on a regular basis.

3. Windshield Wipers
Replace your windshield wipers every six months to a year. If they begin to streak or leave areas full of water, you may need to replace them!

4. Head Lights
Foggy head lights can lead to dangerous driving . Many cars have sensors to detect out lights. But also check them once a week for your own safety.

5. Steering
If you steering wheel appears to vibrate or lock, report this during your maintenance checkup. A professional can diagnose the problems.

By carefully maintaining your vehicle, you can help your car remain safe.

Why Should I Hire An Attorney?

If you have been injured by a car accident caused by mechanical failures, you may need to hire an attorney. The attorney will most probably retain an expert to investigate. The expert could testify about the design defect or manufacturing defect that may have caused the accident. Also, they would present to the court the alternatives to that design that could make the vehicle safer. This could involve forensic evidence of the vehicle and the accident.

Experienced personal injury lawyers like the attorneys at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. have knowledge in motor vehicle accidents and product liability. When you meet with an attorney, an injured victim should share information about the case. This would include the suspected cause of the accident, any acts leading up to the accident and the injuries you sustained in the accident. For a free consultation, call the attorneys today at (847) 357-0403

About the Firm


Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron

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