A car being taken in for maintenance after an accident caused by a defective headlight.Vehicle defects aren’t especially common, but every year, people end up injured or deceased as a result of flaws in vehicle design or manufacturing. Since the authorities and insurance companies are interested in determining fault, they’re prone to focus on the drivers and may disregard the condition of the vehicles involved.

No matter the circumstances, it’s always a wise idea to consider whether your car’s design or manufacturing history contributed to the outcome of the accident.

If there is any question of a defect after a car accident, you’ll want to consult with Bert McDowell Injury Law, LLC. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Bert has handled a range of cases during his career and has won substantial settlements and jury awards for his clients.

His goal is to help clients maximize their compensation so that they can pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses that arise after accidents.

Consult with Bert and our team about your situation during a free, no-obligation case review when you give him a call at (203) 633-7449 or contact us online today.

What to Look for in a Hartford Defective Car Attorney

Cars are complex machines with thousands of moving parts. Manufacturers take great care in sourcing and creating safe parts, and they follow a strict assembly process to ensure that vehicles are as safe as possible.

Millions of people trust car companies to provide vehicles that are reliable and predictable. Sadly, though, strict manufacturing guidelines can’t prevent all mistakes. Defective cars can leave factories, pass through dealerships, and end up in the driveways of consumers across America.

It can be difficult to prove that a car accident was caused primarily by a vehicle defect. Defects are relatively rare. Popular knowledge also holds that the majority of accidents are attributed to human error, so convincing an insurance company or a jury that the fault lies elsewhere is often a challenge.

That said, a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney will be up for the task if there is evidence that points to a defect. As you speak with attorneys, look for professionals with the following qualifications and traits:

  • A successful track record: Going head-to-head with an insurance company or car manufacturer is no easy feat. These businesses shield themselves behind top-notch legal teams and take measures to avoid liability whenever possible. Knowing this, you’ll want to find a bold personal injury attorney who will tirelessly defend you, even if the fight turns ugly. Don’t be afraid to ask attorneys about the cases they’ve handled in the past. Ask if they’ve been involved in any defective vehicle cases and see if they can share details about those cases and their outcomes.
  • Communication & organizational skills: In a perfect world, every attorney would answer calls promptly, stay on top of key dates, and keep clients in the loop about important case developments. Unfortunately, you can’t expect all attorneys to observe these basic courtesies. As you consider attorneys, it’s valuable to search for online reviews or read in-depth testimonials about other clients’ experiences. You can get a strong sense of an attorney’s professionalism by reading these testimonials and reviews.
  • Experience with local cases: Laws vary substantially from one situation to the next. If your accident happened in the Hartford area, you’ll want to find an attorney who is familiar with Connecticut laws regarding personal injury and negligence. Bert McDowell received his legal education in Connecticut and is an upstanding member of the Connecticut Bar Association. He has a deep understanding of how state laws apply to car accidents and vehicle defects.

Understanding Vehicle Defects

Defects fall into three broad categories. To lodge a successful defect case, the issue that affected your vehicle (and led to the accident) must fall into one or more of the following classifications:

Design Defects

Large teams of engineers, designers, and specialists develop blueprints for vehicles.

Understandably, no mode of transport can be perfectly safe, but car companies have a responsibility to balance risks and benefits when designing new vehicles. Unfortunately, even the smartest minds can miscalculate or make mistakes.

As a result, a car could have a design defect.

Examples of design defects include:

  • Seat belts that don’t function or fasten properly
  • Airbags that don’t deploy when they should
  • Brakes that don’t work consistently
  • Malfunctioning self-driving technology
  • Locks that don’t work
  • Broken or stuck accelerator pedal
  • Steering system issues
  • The components used don’t conform to the mass and inertia of the vehicle
  • Visibility limitations that make it difficult to view the surroundings

These problems could either lead to a catastrophic issue or fail to protect someone who is involved in an accident. Further, a failure could happen at any time – you could drive the car for months without an issue, and suddenly, the defect could cause a disaster.

You can find multiple real-life examples of car manufacturing defects that killed or injured drivers and passengers. Some of these incidents date back to the beginning of mass manufacturing, but others happened within the last 20 to 30 years.

Manufacturing Defects

In some cases, a car is built on sound design principles, but issues crop up during the manufacturing or assembly process. Cases that involve this type of defect are especially challenging since the car manufacturer may try to point fingers at the part supplier or vice versa.

Manufacturing defects can occur if a worker fails to do their job properly, if an automated system fails to produce or assemble a piece correctly, or if poor manufacturing processes or faulty machinery leads to problems.

Warning Defects

Car manufacturers have to provide proper warnings and usage information for vehicles and specific parts (such as seatbelts and airbags).

In general, owner’s manuals contain warnings and cautionary information so that drivers use their vehicles safely. Manufacturers are required to disclose warnings and anticipate the various ways that people will try to use their vehicles.

If a manufacturer fails to address certain situations that could reasonably lead to injuries or death, they could be held liable for a warning defect.

Recalls fall into this category, as well. Manufacturers must let the public know if they’ve produced an unsafe vehicle.

They must disseminate the information as quickly as they can to the general public and provide a way for people to get in touch and receive help.

Who Is Responsible for a Defective Car?

Vehicle manufacturers produce cars, but they don’t work alone. They often rely on a network of suppliers and vendors to create the finished product.

That said, the final responsibility generally falls on the manufacturer to ensure that the car is safe and reliable. You would only pursue a vendor or supplier in rare circumstances.

If you discover a defect after buying a car from a dealer, you may have protection through your car warranty. However, if you don’t have a warranty or if the dealer and warranty company are ignoring the problem, you can lodge a complaint with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.

If you’re injured because of a defect or if you need representation to escalate your case, you’d want to hire a personal injury attorney who can take your complaint to the manufacturer. They’ll help you understand what options exist for pursuing compensation in your specific situation.

It’s worth noting that you should keep the car and its title after an accident if you suspect a defect caused the crash. If the insurance company takes possession of the car, they might send it to a scrap yard before you get the chance to examine it further.

In defect cases, videos and pictures may not be enough proof to build a compelling case. You need to preserve the car for a physical investigation.

If you suspect that another car involved in the accident had a manufacturing defect, let your attorney know so that they can contact the owner and gather more information.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You

After a car accident, you might be saddled with unexpected debt, crippling injuries, and significant stress that affects your overall well-being. An attorney can’t resolve all of these issues, but they can help you by seeking compensation on your behalf.

An experienced and diligent attorney will take these steps to get you back on your feet and protect your interests moving forward:

  • Collect and preserve evidence, including the vehicle, which is critical in a defective car investigation.
  • Identifying witnesses and responsible parties in the accident
  • Identifying and contacting insurance companies
  • Researching recalls and other issues related to your make, model, and year
  • Handling claims with a manufacturer
  • Documenting your physical condition and making projections about your future medical expenses
  • Negotiating medical bills on your behalf
  • Building a compelling case against the responsible parties to claim the compensation you deserve

A Hartford Defective Car Law Firm Can Help You Today

If you’ve been in an accident that involved a defective car, you don’t have to fight your battles alone. You can turn to a personal injury attorney for guidance, resources, and support.

Bert McDowell is an experienced attorney who has represented a range of car accident victims from all walks of life. He provides every client with personalized service and aims to secure as much compensation as possible for each person he represents.

Known for his determination, knowledge, and dedication to his clients, Bert is the professional you need to get the results you want.

Schedule a free, no-obligation case review with our team to discuss your vehicle problems and how they could affect your claim when you call (203) 633-7449 or contact us online today.