Defective vehicles can lead to significant injuries and property damage for residents and visitors to the state of Michigan. But when is an auto manufacturer responsible for a car accident?
Liability for any vehicle accident revolves around which party or parties were negligent and the ability to prove that the negligence directly led to the damages involved. Here, we want to review vehicle accident manufacturer liability and the difficulties involved in these cases. Ask our car accident attorneys in Southfield to learn more.
Serious Defects Lead to Catastrophic Accidents
Things go wrong with vehicles all the time. That, in and of itself, does not mean that a company is negligent. However, auto manufacturers do have a responsibility to consumers. When defects are discovered, auto manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that the defect is remedied. In some cases, a defect may be so severe and widespread enough that it triggers a recall in order to prevent accidents from occurring.
What types of vehicle defects could lead to a recall? The reality is that recalls occur all the time, often due to flaws that have nothing to do with the overall safety of the vehicle. However, there are times when critical vehicle systems are defective. This can include defects involving:
- Fuel pump
- Steering components
- Tires or wheels
- Braking systems
- The engine
- Door latch mechanisms
This is certainly not a complete list of the defects that could occur, but it is important to understand when a manufacturer could be liable if an accident occurs as a result of a vehicle defect.
There are various ways the manufacturers could be held responsible for vehicle defects. First, the Michigan Lemon Law is in place to provide a mechanism for consumers to ensure a newly purchased defective vehicle gets repaired or replaced in a reasonable amount of time. The law defines a vehicle as a lemon as any vehicle that has a serious problem that cannot be repaired after four attempts or any vehicle that is out of service for 30 more days for repairs for the same issue.
Overall, if a vehicle defect causes a collision that leads to injuries or property damage, the manufacturer of the vehicle or a specific part could be held automatically responsible. These claims typically fall under a strict liability rule which means it is not necessary to prove that the auto manufacturer was negligent, just that the vehicle was defective. This is a lower burden of proving the claim.
Checking for a Vehicle Recall
If you have any questions about whether or not your vehicle has a recall, we encourage you to visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) web page specifically devoted to safety issues and recalls for vehicles. On that page, you can enter your vehicle identification number (VIN) and view any current or past recalls related to your vehicle. If you do notice that your vehicle has an active recall, take a look to determine whether or not this recall involves critical vehicle systems. If the recall stays that you should not drive your vehicle until the issue is repaired, then do not do so. Have your vehicle towed to the dealership so they can remedy the issue. The manufacturer will always provide recall repairs free of charge.