When we drive a car, we expect all of the vehicle’s components to operate safely. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and a significant number of car accidents occur due to defective auto parts. Certain parts of a vehicle are more likely to be defective and cause accidents than others, including the following:
Tires are one of the most critical components of a vehicle. Yet, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 8,000 car accidents happen every year as a result of tire failures.
Tire failures can happen in a variety of ways, but most often occur in the following circumstances:
- Explosions. Tire explosions often result from a problem that occurred during the tire’s design or manufacture. For example, weak tires may fail to contain outward pressure when being inflated or during hot weather when the air in the tires expands. This can result in a catastrophic explosion during tire inflation and while driving.
- Belt and tread separations. The tread on defective tires may separate from the wheel in hot weather while traveling at high speeds. This can cause the tire to fail completely and result in a catastrophic car accident.
A seatbelt may mean the difference between life and death in a car accident. They are often the first and last line of defense in such an event. So, when a seatbelt fails to function properly, vehicle passengers may be seriously injured or killed.
Specific examples of seatbelt defects and failures include the following:
- Poor durability: Seatbelts that are not strong enough to withstand the force of a car accident may not be able to restrain a passenger. This could result in them being ejected from the vehicle.
- Unlatching: Seatbelts with a latching defect may become unlatched from the buckle during a car accident.
- Unspooling: Should the spooling mechanism of a seatbelt fail, the belt will not stop a passenger’s forward movement during a car accident.
Airbags are perhaps the most notorious auto part in terms of recalls. Most people have heard about an airbag recall at some point or another. When such a recall occurs, every driver with a defective airbag is at risk of a catastrophic or fatal injury.
Airbag defects can happen for several reasons, including the following:
- Design flaws
- Errors in assembly, installation, or manufacture
- “Failure to warn” or lack of adequate directions for safe and proper use
It should be noted that, even if you take your car in for regular maintenance, this may not prevent a car accident caused by a defective auto part. Auto parts must be designed, produced, and installed safely by a manufacturer or mechanic.
The responsibility to prevent car accidents by providing safe components lies with a manufacturer or mechanic—not with the consumer.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident caused by an auto defect, our team at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP has the experience and resources needed to take on auto manufacturers, mechanics, and their insurers.