Recent media coverage of automotive defects and recalls has heightened consumer awareness about the safety hazards of car defects and malfunctions. As automobile manufacturing is becoming increasingly stream-lined and cost-efficient, it appears as though car defects and malfunctions are becoming increasingly prevalent. While most defects have relatively mild repercussions, others can be extremely dangerous, and result in serious injury or even death.
Common Car Defects and Malfunctions
Frequently reported automotive defects and malfunctions involve the following:
• Seat belt defects – A defective seat belt can cause occupants serious injury. In some cases, they may not lock on impact, consequently causing the occupant to lurch forward and potentially incur injuries from contact with the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield. In other cases, the seat belt may cause chest injuries if they lock prematurely or do not have any give at all.
• Brake malfunctions – Brakes are one of the most crucial components for car safety. Defective brakes can compromise a driver’s ability to stop, a problem which can cause a wide array of accidents and injury.
• Sudden acceleration – A more recently reported defect, sudden acceleration occurs in some vehicles with a faulty mechanism. Essentially, the vehicle accelerates rapidly and the brake system fails. Sudden acceleration has resulted in the wrongful death of dozens of drivers.
• Airbag defects – If an airbag fails to deploy in the event of an accident, a driver/occupant may incur injuries from impacting the steering wheel, dashboard, or other hard object. If an airbag is too sensitive, however, it may deploy when it is not necessary, potentially injuring the occupant by breaking their nose or other facial bones.
• Child car seat defects – Defective car seats can put children occupants at an increased risk for injury in the event of an accident. While car seats are intended to minimize their risk of injury, if they have a defect or faulty design, they may be more dangerous than using no seat belt at all. Additionally, proper installation is mandatory for car seats to perform their function.
Manufacturer and Distributor Liability
When an accident occurs because of a car defect or malfunction, victims of the accident may be eligible to receive compensation for their losses, including:
• Medical expenses
• Lost wages
• Pain and suffering
• Property damages
• Wrongful death
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, the vehicle’s manufacturer or distributor (or both) may be liable for damages.
For more information about how to receive compensation for losses incurred by an automotive malfunction or defect, contact the Oklahoma car accident attorneys of the Abel Law Firm.