Automobile manufacturers have a legal obligation to ensure that the vehicles they sell pass crash-safety tests and will function correctly on the road. Although driving is a relatively safe way to travel, vehicle defects and malfunction present a serious risk and account for a significant portion of car accidents. Since its inception in 1966, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has requested the recall of over 390 million motor vehicles, 46 million tires, and 66 other integral vehicle parts such as seatbelts, air bags, and door latches.
When a car malfunctions on the road, it can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle and result in injuries to the driver and passengers, and it may also pose a threat to other motorists. Some car defects, such as designs prone to rollovers, light and signal failures, seatbelt malfunction and poor construction of the crumple zone, are extremely serious and may have severe adverse effects.
If you have been injured due to the negligence of an automaker, the lawyers at Burch Law Firm may be able to help. Contact our experienced New Braunfels defective vehicle attorneys by calling 830-629-0955 today.
Indications of a Vehicle Defect
There are two principal types of car defects. The first type is a design defect, inherent to the design of a particular vehicle. The defect will most likely occur in other cars for that particular make and model of vehicle.
The second type is a manufacturing defect, and is created by the improper crafting or assembly of a vehicle or its constituent parts. These are often, but not always, single occurrences that do not occur in other cars of the same make and model manufactured at that time.
The following may be indications that your accident may have been caused by a defective vehicle:
- Brake malfunction
- Airbag malfunction
- Seat belt malfunction
- Brake light burnout
- Vehicle imbalance
- Computer or sensor failures
Product Liability and Automobile Safety
When Texans think about what they want out of their cars, a few things probably come to mind. They likely want their car to be reliable. They need to get from one place to the next. They also probably want their car to be cheap to use. They do not want large maintenance costs or gas expenses. And, most importantly, people want their car to be safe. They want to know that they are going to get to their destination safely and without incident.
In many situations, whether someone makes it to their destination in one piece is determined by the drivers around that person. Other people have to rely on others to follow the rules to avoid a serious accident or injury. Nonetheless, serious injuries are not only caused by negligent drivers, but they can be caused by negligent manufacturers as well.
There are many times when car companies just do not put the necessary car into making or designing a car. In these situations, signal failures, seatbelt malfunction, rollovers and other defective auto parts are responsible for causing accidents and injuries to innocent drivers. These defectives have led to countless product recalls to help take dangerous products off the market.
Sadly, a product recall often comes as too little, too late for many Texas residents. A recall cannot undo the damage caused by an auto defect. The recall cannot help compensate people for their injuries. But, the Burch Law Firm may be able to help.
Our firm has experience helping hold companies liable for their negligence. We gather facts about the product defect and peoples injuries to ensure that companies are held responsible. Whether the defect includes a manufacturing error or a design defect, we know how to get people the compensation they need and deserve.
Texas Car Safety and Mandatory Recalls
Automobile safety is so important that the federal government has many regulations that control the manufacturing and distributing of cars in the United States. This does not mean, however, that all manufacturers adhere to these rules. Many defective auto parts and defective automobile designs make it to the market in Texas. When this happens, people can get seriously hurt.
If a product defect is detected, a company may be forced to recall the product. With cars, a mandatory recall is necessary, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in two situations. One, if the car fails to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, then a recall is necessary. This law sets minimum safety standard for many of a car’s major systems. These include regulations about the car’s braking systems, tires, air bags and steering columns.
Two, a recall is mandatory, if there is a safety-related defect in the car or its equipment. This includes a defect that creates an “unreasonable risk” for accidents because of the construction, design or performance of a vehicle. This includes things like accelerators that sudden stick, wheels that break, wiring that causes a fire, seat backs that suddenly fail and other similar hazards. Nonetheless, this standard does not include cosmetic issues, like air conditioning, ordinary wear and tear or excessive oil consumption.
If an automobile design defect, defective auto part or product liability issue causes harm to a driver, passenger or other person, the car’s manufacturer may be liable for damages. An attorney can help explain people’s rights in these situations.
NHTSA and Car Safety in Texas
Consumers also need to understand how to react before a recall has been issued. They need to know how to report issues with their vehicles. This is where the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) comes in.
Consumers can report potential safety issues to the NHTSA. This can be done over the phone, in the mail or online. If the NHTSA receives a number of similar complaints about the same vehicles, the NHTSA will have cause to investigate the concerns. The NHTSA will work through a variety of steps to determine if a recall should be issued in any particular case.
One part of these steps includes a two-part investigation. The first part of the investigation — called the preliminary investigation — information will be gathered from the car’s manufacturer. This includes information about car accidents involving the car, warranty claims or injury reports. The second part of the investigation — called the engineering analysis — will investigate a particular alleged defect. This will include inspections, tests and other surveys to determine if a defect exists.
While the NHTSA can be an important part in preventing accidents by recalling vehicles, the organization can do little for those already hurt by defective auto parts. In those cases, victims should speak with an attorney to ensure that their rights are protected.
Contact Our Defective Vehicle Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result as a consequence of a vehicle defect, you may wish to consider pursuing financial compensation through a civil lawsuit. Contact the Experienced defective vehicle attorneys at the Burch Law Firm by calling 830-629-0955 today.