After an automobile accident, most people blame the other driver for causing the crash. The police who respond to the scene will look at the accident, and try and figure out which driver was at fault. Even the insurance company will try and place the blame on the driver. However, in many accidents, the driver had nothing to do with the accident. Instead, it was an automobile defect or an equipment malfunction that caused the crash.
Over the years, there have been thousands of vehicle recalls due to manufacturing defects, design defects or equipment malfunctions. These have increased in recent years as cars are equipped with more features, electronics, and computer systems. However, any equipment, new or old, can cause a malfunction that results in the driver losing control of the vehicle. When an automobile defect causes a car accident, the drivers and passengers should go after the car company to make sure they are compensated for their injuries.
Common Automobile Defects
Some of the more common automobile defects include seatbelt malfunctions, seat recline mechanism malfunctions, airbag defects, and unintended acceleration. Many of these have been the subject of a vehicle recall; however, many defects are also never reported by car manufacturers to the public. It is only after a number of accidents have occurred, or a government investigation forces the automobile manufacturer to recall their defective and dangerous products.
Seatbelts became a standard safety feature decades ago. They are intended to secure the driver in the event of an accident. Seatbelts can malfunction by failing to restrain an occupant, or having some part of the seat belt break in an accident. This includes coming loose from the locking mechanism, or tearing in half. If the seat belt breaks or fails to hold the driver or passenger, they could crash into the interior of the vehicle, or even be thrown from the vehicle. This can lead to multiple injuries, or even death.
Unintended acceleration has been linked to a number of serious car accidents. Unintended acceleration occurs when a vehicle unexpectedly accelerates without the driver's control. This can lead to a single car crash, or result in a multiple vehicle accident. Many Toyota vehicles were reportedly involved in unintended acceleration accidents, leading to a number of deaths. Toyota initially denied there were any defects, despite the claims of drivers across the country. However, it was later discovered that driver-side trim on some Toyota and Lexus vehicles could come loose, which prevented the accelerator from returning to a full closed position.
Although Toyota denied knowing about the defect, it was later determined that the company knew about the problem and had misled drivers, continuing to put the dangerous vehicles on the road. As a result, the company was fined $1.2 billion. They have also privately settled hundreds of personal injury and wrongful death cases related to unintended acceleration.
Another common cause of injury involves airbag malfunctions. Airbags can deploy prematurely, with no-cause deployments. Not only does a sudden airbag deployment shock the driver, it can also make them temporarily unable to see. They can lose control of the car and go off the road, or crash into another vehicle. Additionally, if they crash, the airbag was already deployed so it cannot re-deploy to protect them during the accident.
Millions of cars in the U.S. have recently become the subject of a massive recall involving Takata airbags. Cars in hot and humid environments may have their inflators to explode, throwing dangerous metal shards into the face and neck of the driver. These defects have been linked to a number of injuries and deaths of unsuspecting drivers.
Defective recline mechanisms have also been identified as a cause of serious automobile accidents. This can cause the seat to suddenly drop down, leaving the driver unable to see, unable to control the vehicle, and putting them in a position outside the safety of a seatbelt. An accident that causes the seat to recline can leave the driver or passenger vulnerable to injuries from being thrown around the inside of the vehicle.
Certain defects in some sport utility vehicles will cause the vehicles to be less stable and rollover if involved in an accident. Single-vehicle rollovers account for more fatalities than any other kind of vehicle accident.
Automobile Defect Injury Attorneys
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, identifying the defect, determining who is responsible, and making sure they pay for your injuries. 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 a car accident in Maryland, please contact our law offices as soon as possible.