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Nick DiCello
Nick DiCello
Attorney • (866) 735-1102 Ext 670

Automobile Accident or Defective Automobile? What to Look for and When to Investigate an Auto Defect

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Thousands of motor vehicle collisions occur every year. More than43,000 people died in car crashes/accidents in 2005 alone. Most often the motorists involved in a car crash seek to determine who among them was responsible for causing the crash. Sometimes, however, and usually unbeknownst to most motorists, a vehicle itself, or the way a vehicle was designed or manufactured, is the cause of the accident. In other words, of the thousands and thousands of motor vehicle collisions and accidents that occur each year, some of them are undoubtedly caused by a defect in the vehicle at issue. To the untrained eye, however, a defect may not be apparent as a potential cause of an accident or injury.

Examples of auto defects that can cause or contribute to a motor vehicle collision, single car accident, or type or extent of injury include: defective airbags, faulty seat backs that collapse, inadequate stability leading to roll-over, inadequate roof strength, exploding gas tanks, defective seat belts, defective door latches, and defective tires leading to blow-outs, to name a few.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle collision, or been seriously inujured in a motor vehicle collision, it is important to consider whether the accident or injury was potentially the result of a defect in the design or manufacture of a vehicle or its component parts.

  • An accident in which an SUV rolls over may very well involve more than driver error. The SUV may have rolled over, even at low speeds, because of a dangerous and defective design. SUV manufacturers have been held accoutnable in courts for using defective and unreasonably dangerous designs that lead to roll over. For example, several cases against Ford involving its popular Explorer SUV have resulted in verdicts against Ford, including punitive damage awards for knowingly using a defective and unreasonably dangerous design.
  • When someone who was wearing a seat belt is ejected from a vehicle during a crash, a defective restraint system may be the cause.
  • If a vehicle flips over during a crash and a portion of the roof is flattened, the roof may not have been adequately designed and manufactured to protect vehicle occupants. Litigation over these types of defects are referred to as roof cruch cases.
  • If someone’s car becomes engulfed in flames during a collision or explodes, a defective gas tank may be to blame.
  • If a seat back collapses backward during a collision, the seat may be defective.
  • If a tire fails it may be defective, including defective tire tread separation.
  • If someone is ejected through the door of a car during a collision, the door and/or door latch may be defective.

Considering whether an auto defect may have caused a car crash/accident is important. To investigate whether an auto defect did possibly cause a crash/accident, however, it is critical to preserve the vehicle for investigation. Furthermore, it is important to contact an attorney with experience in investigating and litigating auto defect cases who can hire the necessary experts to investigate.

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    I think people are often quick to assume “these things happen,” and not look any further. Having seen some of the devastating results from defects like a collapsed seat, I think you’re right to get people to think about what role a defective automobile might have had in their injuries.