Liability for Secondhand Defective Auto Parts

Auto parts are sometimes reconditioned and/or recycled in order to be reused. The idea is to return them to a condition in which they are “like new.” However, before sold to the public there should be a quality assurance test performed in order to ensure they are safe.

Secondhand defective auto parts that cause or contribute to a car crash and injuries may lead an individual to file an injury claim. The chain of command for a refurbished auto part can get confusing so read on to learn about it, but if still confused, call a car crash lawyer in New York to clarify.

Types of Secondhand Defective Auto Parts That Could Cause Injuries

Not all malfunctioning auto parts would necessitate legal action. Those that don’t work properly might cause an inconvenience and additional expenses, but they don’t necessarily warrant filing an injury claim. But when they are directly connected to serious injuries, then it may allow the injured party to recover damages.

The following are examples of secondhand auto parts that could cause injuries to others when defective: 

  • tires;
  • brakes;
  • airbags;
  • steering components;
  • seatbelts; and
  • accelerators.

There is a risk that someone could be severely injured in a car crash anytime something goes wrong with these parts. Drivers could lose control of the vehicles or their injuries (including injuries to occupants) could be much worse in a car crash because of the defect (such as if airbags or seatbelts malfunction).

Liability for Injuries Caused by Secondhand Auto Parts

There is oftentimes more than one party that can be liable in a defective product case. Potentially anyone involved in the chain of distribution—from the initial design of the part to the point in which it is available for sale (whether on a shelf or inside a vehicle)—numerous parties could be named in a claim.

The following are examples of parties that could be liable when defective secondhand auto parts lead to serious injuries: 

  • auto parts store;
  • vehicle supply shop;
  • repair shop;
  • shipper;
  • distributor;
  • dealership (used or new); and
  • manufacturer of vehicle and/or parts.

Establishing liability can be quite complicated in this type of accident case. It has to be determined where the defect originated. It’s possible that it was designed correctly but manufactured incorrectly or it could be that something went wrong on both accounts.

Sometimes the part is fine until it gets into the hands of a subsequent party, such as a distributor. Or an auto supply store may alter it before selling it or to resell a used part. There is also the possibility that several parties along the line have missed critical signs that indicate the part is dangerous; for instance, when it’s been recalled and it continues to pass through the chain of distribution.

Establishing Secondhand Auto Parts Were Defective

Not only must it be established which party is liable, but one of the other important elements is being able to link the defective part to the car accident and resultant injuries. If someone runs a red light and crashes into a building, it would need to be proven that faulty brakes or some other malfunction was the cause of the accident.

If it’s found that it had nothing to do with the vehicle or its parts and was strictly a matter of the driver failing to see the red light, the driver would not be able to turn it into a product liability case.

With a variety of complex issues that can arise, it’s generally to the injured person’s benefit to seek legal counsel. At Gacovino, Lake & Associates, we can assist clients injured in a car crash from secondhand defective auto parts. Call us at 800-246-4878 to schedule your consultation and begin discussing your case.

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