Cars sitting in a row in a parking lot waiting for their turn to be services.Like any product, a motor vehicle can be defective. Because these vehicles are large, heavy, and capable of moving at high speeds, a defect in a car is frequently dangerous and sometimes life-threatening.

Due to the potential impact of defects, car manufacturers usually work hard to improve safety in their vehicles, but if they fail, you could suffer severe injuries as a result of their mistakes.

How Can a Bridgeport Defective Car Attorney Help?

If you’re unsure what caused your accident or if your vehicle may have been defective, we can investigate the situation and help you find answers. We’ll learn more about the accident and identify any liable parties—there may be more than one.

If we find sufficient evidence to support a defective car case, we will fight to get you the best settlement for your damages.

What Kinds of Auto Defects Can Cause Accidents?

Cars have many moving parts and safety features, so there are, unfortunately, numerous ways that things can go wrong. Here are some common problems we see in defective car claims:

  • Defective tires. An unexpected tire blowout can easily send a car off the road or crashing into another vehicle. If there is a flaw in the tire’s design, the rubber is defective, or the tread separates, causing an accident, you may have suffered injuries from a defective tire. However, it’s important to note that tires should be rotated and checked regularly and replaced as needed. If your tire fails because it was worn and you didn’t replace it when necessary, it probably wasn’t defective.
  • Fuel system defects. Because fuel is highly flammable, the position and design of the tanks should reduce the risk of a fire or explosion. If the fuel tank design increases these risks, the tank may be defective. One example is the Ford Pinto, a famous car sold in the 1970s that had a tendency to erupt in flames after relatively minor crashes. By 1978, Ford had recalled the Pintos and faced multiple lawsuits from accident victims and their families.
  • Defective electronics. Problems with the car’s electrical system can cause fires or, in some cases, leave occupants trapped in the car in an accident or dangerous situation.
  • Uncontrolled acceleration. A car that accelerates when you haven’t stepped on the gas or one that can’t be slowed down is a severe hazard to both the occupants and others on the road. Millions of Toyotas were recalled in 2009 and 2010 due to “sticking” accelerators and a floormat defect that could trap the gas pedal.
  • Faulty dashboard warning lights. The lights on your dashboard should let you know if there’s a potential problem so you can deal with it before the issue gets worse. Unfortunately, a defective warning light could fail to bring a problem to your attention, and in some cases, you might have an accident as a result.
  • Defective brakes. This one doesn’t need much explanation—if your brakes don’t work, it’s only a matter of time before you have a collision. As with tires, brakes require regular maintenance to perform well, but if they’re relatively new or recently serviced and suddenly fail, you may be dealing with defective brakes.
  • Seatback issues. You might not think about the back of your car’s seat being defective, but this can cause injuries. If the seatback collapses, it could allow more severe injuries, including back or head injuries. Seatbelts may also fail if the seatback has collapsed because the seatbelt is designed to keep you in your seat.
  • Defective doors or door latches. A door that doesn’t latch correctly can pop open while the car is in motion, distracting the driver or causing an occupant to fall out of the car.
  • Seatbelt problems. As we discussed earlier, seatbelts protect you by preventing your body from being thrown forward in a crash. Yet some seatbelts may unlatch, even when you know you clicked them into place, or they could tear during an accident. Additionally, if the seatbelt’s post is defective, it could come loose during a collision, rendering the seatbelt useless. While seatbelt defects don’t usually cause the accident itself, they can make your injuries much worse than they otherwise would be.
  • Airbag defects. This is another example of a device that’s designed to increase safety but sometimes malfunctions and fails to protect the user. In some cases, the airbag fails to deploy when needed, but on the other hand, it could also deploy unnecessarily for a minor impact, causing injuries to the rider. Other bags could cause chemical burns or contain sharp pieces that injure the car occupant. If you suffered significant injuries from an airbag, please speak with a Bridgeport injury lawyer to learn more.
  • Roof problems. The roof of a car should be strong enough to protect the occupants if the car rolls over or slides under a semi-truck (an underride accident). If your car’s roof wasn’t designed properly, it might collapse during relatively minor impacts, causing head trauma and other injuries for riders.

What Do You Need to Prove in a Defective Car Part Case?

Our investigators will gather evidence so we can show the following:

  • The car or its component was defective when it left the factory’s control. This means you did not tinker with the car, replace the defective part with another one, or do anything that could have caused the defect. Having your car serviced by a qualified professional is not usually a problem, but in rare cases, we find the mechanic or service worker may have damaged the part in question. In that situation, we may pursue a claim against the service company rather than the manufacturer.
  • The defect caused the car accident. This part is crucial. No matter how defective the car was, you don’t have a case if we can’t demonstrate that the defect caused the crash. For that reason, the car manufacturer’s legal team may argue that you or another driver were negligent and crashed due to driver error. We will consider multiple types of evidence, including witness testimony, photo or video evidence, event data recorder or EDR data, and more, to prove the defect was the cause of your collision.
  • The accident caused your injuries. We’ll use the police report, your medical records, and, in some cases, testimony from doctors or medical experts to show how the crash caused your injuries.
  • You were using the product as intended when the injuries occurred. Again, the manufacturer will likely claim that you ignored instructions or did not act in a reasonable way when driving the car. For instance, they might say that you failed to hook your seatbelt fully, and that’s why it unlatched during an accident. We’ll work to show that you used the car or its components correctly and the product was defective.

What Are the Three Types of Defective Car Cases?

Product liability claims fall into three categories: Design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects or failure to warn cases. Most defective car cases fall under one of the first two categories:

  • Design defects. This is a problem across all models of a car, as was the case with the Ford Pinto example above—the fuel tank was designed in an unsafe way. Although you may be among the first people affected by a defect, you probably won’t be the last. Not everyone knows they have been injured by a defective car, but if you learn about a recall on your car after suffering an accident, that may be how you find out. When this happens, please speak with a lawyer immediately, even if you’re not sure whether the defect caused your crash or not.
  • Manufacturing defects. In these cases, the design itself is perfectly safe, but something goes wrong in the manufacturing process. Usually, only certain cars belonging to a model are affected by these issues, but if the manufacturing problem lasts a long time before it’s discovered, millions of cars could be affected anyway. In these situations, the manufacturer may recall or offer to fix cars sold during a specific time period, or owners may be able to check if their vehicle is included using its VIN number.

Where Can You Find a Bridgeport Defective Car Law Firm?

Bert McDowell Injury Law assists people with a variety of personal injury situations, including car accidents and defective car cases. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and suspect a car defect, please contact us for a free case evaluation.

There is no obligation, and if we take your case, you won’t owe us anything until we win or settle it.

Attorney Bert McDowell, Jr. is an experienced litigator who has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for injured people and their families. He was featured in 40 Under 40 Connecticut Magazine and National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40.

A Super Lawyers Rising Star four years in a row, he is also passionate about community service. Mr. McDowell is on the board of several nonprofits and has received the 100 Men of Color Award for his community work and stellar legal reputation.

The organization Black People Rocks also honored him with the Man of Excellence Award. Work with Attorney McDowell by calling (203) 590-9169.