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Who Is at Fault When a Mechanical Failure Causes a Car Accident?

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Every component of a motor vehicle must operate properly for a safe and seamless drive. Unfortunately, automobile manufacturers often produce vehicles that contain defects and have dangerous mechanical failures. This can threaten the lives of the driver and his or her passengers, as well as anyone sharing the road with the driver at the time of the malfunction. If you get injured in a car accident involving a mechanical failure, find out who could be at fault.

Common Examples of Dangerous Mechanical Failures

Automobiles are highly complex machines with thousands of parts. If just one of these parts contains a design, manufacturing or marketing defect, the entire vehicle could be compromised. Every year, vehicles are recalled by the manufacturer or a federal safety organization for reported defects or mechanical failures. Unfortunately, these recalls often come too late.

Common examples of mechanical failures involved in car accidents are:

  • Brake failure
  • Tire blowout
  • Steering column problem
  • Starter failure
  • Sticky gas pedal
  • Autonomous technology error
  • Roof crush
  • Seatback failure
  • Seat belt failure
  • Airbag failure or explosions
  • Electrical issues

These part defects and mechanical failures can be fatal in the wrong circumstances. They can cause or significantly contribute to catastrophic car accidents, including rollovers and chain reaction accidents. In addition, if the safety equipment inside of a vehicle malfunctions in a crash, victims may not be properly protected from serious injury.

Liability for a Vehicle Mechanical Failure Accident

If an investigation finds that a car crash was caused by a mechanical failure, the person or party behind the failure can be held liable, or financially responsible. In many cases, this is the manufacturer of the vehicle or defective part. Automobile manufacturers have a legal obligation to ensure the reasonable safety of their vehicles and equipment. This responsibility involves rigorous production standards and testing requirements prior to releasing a new part.

If a manufacturing company falls short of its duty of care and this results in a dangerous or defective car part, it can be held responsible for related car accidents caused by mechanical failures. These product liability claims may be based on the legal theory of negligence or a breach of warranty. Negligence is the failure to meet the duty of care, while a breach of warranty is the failure to fulfill a promise or guarantee made to customers about a product’s safety.

A car accident caused by a mechanical failure could also result in a strict product liability claim. The rule of strict product liability means that a part manufacturer can be held responsible for a car accident even without proof of negligence. As long as evidence shows that the auto part contained a defect and caused the car accident, the victim can recover compensation. This rule is in place to protect consumers and help them go up against major manufacturing companies.

Vehicle Owner Liability

All motor vehicle owners have a responsibility to properly maintain their cars. If another driver crashes into you due to a mechanical failure that he or she reasonably could have prevented with proper vehicle maintenance, you may be able to hold the owner of the vehicle liable. You or your attorney will need to prove that the owner negligently failed to maintain the vehicle, such as ignoring known problems or making dangerous do-it-yourself repairs.

Mechanical Failures and Truck Accidents

Mechanical failure is a common issue involved in commercial truck accident cases in New Mexico. Large trucks or big rigs have many moving pieces that must all work together seamlessly. They are dangerous vehicles that can cause deadly traffic accidents if anything goes wrong. If a mechanical failure occurs, it may be the fault of the trucking company for negligently failing to maintain its fleet of trucks. Poor truck inspection, repair and maintenance procedures can contribute to these accidents.

If you need assistance with a car accident case involving a mechanical failure, contact The Fine Law Firm to request a free consultation.