When a car accident occurs, everything happens so fast that you may not be sure what happened. However, when you end up in the hospital after doing everything you are supposed to, you may suspect the car was not built like it was supposed to. Every year, people end up in the hospital or dead after an accident because a part of the safety equipment malfunctioned. In some cases, a defect in the vehicle may have even caused the accident.
Car designs do not stay the same year after year. With each new model, car manufacturers are may be redesigning the entire vehicle from top to bottom. This includes modifications to the engine, central computer system, seat belts, seat mechanisms, airbags, and even the floor mats. Each new model may change the design of these parts and how they integrate with the rest of the vehicle. They do a number of tests on the new features, but may not have enough time to adequately test everything to understand what might happen when the part fails.
Unfortunately, it may be up to the public to fully test out these new vehicles to discover the true extent of any automobile defects. In some cases, the defects may take years to be fully understood. In other cases, the vehicle manufacturer may be aware of the defects, but fail to inform consumers of the known dangers. This can result in a number of people being unnecessarily harmed all because the car company puts profits first.
When a vehicle defect is discovered, it may be subject to a recall. Some recalls are voluntarily done by the car company, while others are mandatory to make the vehicles safe to operate. Over the decades, millions of vehicles have been subject to safety recalls because of possible manufacturing, material, or design defects.
Seat Belt Defects
Seat belts are one of the primary safety devices in automobiles, even today. They are responsible for securing the occupant in their seat in the event of an accident. The seat belt restricts the passenger's movements so that their body will not be forced against the interior of the car, striking the steering wheel, dashboard, side door, or windows. A seat belt can also prevent the passenger or driver from being ejected from the vehicle in a violent accident. Seat belts work extremely well when they are used, and when they are manufactured and designed properly.
Unfortunately, some seat belts and seat belt parts have the subject of recalls because there may be defects in the manufacture or design. Some vehicles have been recalled for having seat belt parts that wear away over time. In the event of an accident, the seat belt may tear, failing to protect the occupant from serious injury.
Millions of Toyota and Lexus vehicles have been recalled over concerns of unintended acceleration. A defect may prevent the driver from being able to stop accelerating. This can lead to accidents where the driver loses control of the vehicle. Some of these accidents were due to problems with the floor mats that caused the accelerators to get stuck. The car company knew of the problem but continued to mislead their consumers. Eventually, the company was fined $1.2 billion for their part in covering up the problem that caused a number of deaths in the U.S.
Millions of vehicles have also been recalled because of safety problems with airbags. Some airbags used a cheap metal material that could send shards of metal into the face of the driver or passenger when the airbag deployed. Airbags that do not deploy properly can fail to protect the vehicle occupants, and in some cases can cause an accident. If you have any questions about whether your accident was caused by or made worse by a defective airbag, contact your auto defect attorney.
Automobile Defect Injuries in Washington DC
If you or a loved one was injured due to an automobile defect, the company or individuals responsible for the defect should pay for their negligence. Automobile defect injury cases can be complicated. It can take time and resources to identify the defect, determine who might be responsible, and make sure they are held accountable. At Gilman & Bedigian, our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience aggressively pursuing compensation for injury victims and their families. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in an auto defect accident in Washington D.C., please contact our law offices for a free consultation.