Dealership Liability for a Defective Vehicle if It’s Involved in a Car Accident

Car manufacturers can be held liable when a defective vehicle is involved in a car accident that causes injury. If a dealership sells a defective vehicle that causes serious or fatal injuries, liability may be found with them, however, they may not be the only party named in a claim..

There are a couple of common scenarios in which a dealership could hold car accident liability if a vehicle that it sells is involved in a car accident. One is when it has knowledge of a defect and sells the car anyway. The second is when the dealership itself causes it.

Knowingly Selling a Defective Vehicle

Dealerships are typically notified of any vehicle or part recalls issued by manufacturers. When a dealership is notified of a recall and it still makes the vehicle available for sale, an injured person or the family of a loved one who was killed, can seek compensation from the dealership. Keep in mind the claim would need to prove that the defect was the cause of the injuries or death.

Let’s say a car manufacturer issued a recall on a particular make and model of passenger car because the brakes had a significant risk of malfunctioning. A dealership has a few left on its lot and decides to sell them anyway. A month later, the brakes fail on one of those vehicles and as a result, the driver crashes and sustains serious injuries. The dealership could be liable for damages.

Causing an Auto Defect

Sometimes, auto defects don’t originate with the manufacturer. Although less common, once the dealership receives a shipment of cars, its repair shop might make improper modifications or replace a part with one that is faulty. For instance, the repairman swaps out the tires that came with the vehicle with much cheaper ones that turn out to be deficient.

Proving that a dealership altered something on the car or otherwise caused an auto defect can be challenging. Because of a variety of complicated matters, it’s best to consult with legal counsel about establishing your case and collecting the right evidence.

Types of Defects That Could Lead to Serious or Fatal Injuries

Components that malfunction, such as steering, can affect vehicle safety. If the malfunction leads to an accident that causes serious injuries, the party(ies) responsible for the car accident could be liable.

Defects can stem from faulty tires, brakes, airbags or basically any part of a car. For instance, a gas pedal that sticks can prevent the driver from stopping and losing control as a result. Or if another factor causes the accident, certain defects may result in more serious injuries, such as an airbag that deploys with too much force.

Recovering Damages When Injured by a Defective Vehicle

Establishing that a defect caused the vehicle to be involved in a car accident is just one element of filing a claim. Another is being able to prove the damages that resulted from the crash. Most common are medical costs and lost wages while the person was recovering.

Depending on the circumstances, there may be damages related to: 

  • mental anguish;
  • disability; and
  • pain and suffering.

If someone was killed as a result of a defective vehicle, surviving family may be entitled to damages such as funeral and burial costs or loss of companionship for a spouse. To learn more about the right to pursue compensation, who may be liable, and what types of damages are recoverable, contact an attorney.

Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates at 800-246-4878 to set up your consultation and get started on your case today.

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