Filing Defective Car Claim for Vehicle In Which You Were a Passenger

Passengers injured in an accident may be entitled to file a claim to seek compensation for medical expenses and other losses. Although negligent drivers cause many motor vehicle accidents, sometimes they are the result of a car defect. The defect could exist with an auto part or the vehicle itself.

Types of Vehicle Defects That May Lead to an Accident

When a vehicle is designed or manufactured in such a way that makes it more likely to cause an accident, it may be considered defective. An example would be an SUV that is susceptible to a rollover. More often though, the auto parts in the vehicle are dangerous and cause an accident.

The New York Times recently reported on a recall by Toyota. The company “is recalling about 780,000 vehicles for a second time after its first effort to prevent a handling problem did not work. The recall covers about 18,000 2010 Lexus HS 250h autos, a hybrid model, with the rest being the 2006 through 2011 Toyota RAV4 sport utility vehicle.”

Another common type of defect is with the brakes. Two examples of brake defects are brake failure or brake pads that wear prematurely. If a passenger was injured because the driver was unable to stop the car and a brake defect was the cause, the passenger – or any other injured parties – could file a claim to recover compensation for damages.

Another type of car defect involves airbags. If an airbag on the passenger side unexpectedly deploys or does so with such force that it causes injuries, it could indicate a problem with its design or manufacturing.

Tire defects is another example. If tires are prone to blowout or there is a problem with the tread, such as separation, injured parties may pursue a claim against the tire manufacturer.

Liability When a Vehicle Defect Injures a Passenger

One of the more complicated issues that an individual may face when pursuing a claim is deciding against whom to file it. Manufacturers are generally strictly liable for the safety of their products. Even if they did not act negligently, they may still hold responsibility for injuries that the product caused.

But any party involved in the chain of distribution has the potential to be held liable if it acting negligently and it could include the: 

  • manufacturer;
  • distributor;
  • wholesaler; and
  • shipper.

Liability may even lay with a dealership that knowingly sells a vehicle with defects or an automotive parts store that sells defective equipment. If a car repair shop fixes a vehicle using a defective part, it could also be liable.

With so many potential parties, it’s best to consult an attorney. A lawyer can conduct an investigation to determine the source of the problem and which party or parties are liable.

Recoverable Damages if a Defective Vehicle Causes a Passenger’s Injuries

The type of compensation available will depend on the extent and severity of the passenger’s injuries. Injuries that are disabling, disfiguring or life-threatening will generally allow for a greater recovery in monies.

Compensable injuries may include: 

  • medical expenses;
  • pain and suffering;
  • permanent disability;
  • disfigurement; and
  • reduced quality of life.

If the passenger was unable to work for a period of time, that lost income may be recoverable. Or if the injuries prevent the person from returning to his/her job, claimants can address earning potential.

In severe accidents, some accident victims may suffer psychological trauma. The effects may also lead to compensation such as mental anguish or emotional distress. It’s best to discuss the case with an attorney to learn your rights if you were injured as a passenger in a defective vehicle. Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates to set up your legal consultation: 800-246-4878.

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