No one ever expects that the simple act of driving could put them in harm's way. But each time you get behind the wheel, you are trusting that your vehicle will perform as designed. You assume the brakes will stop you, the airbags will inflate, and the tires will grip the road. We take properly functioning automobiles for granted.
But what if that trust shatters in an instant? Imagine cruising along on a routine drive when a defective component in your car malfunctions. Suddenly, you've lost control and find yourself careening into another vehicle or stationary object.
The victim of the defect did nothing wrong, yet their life has now been forever changed. Getting justice can be a lengthy battle unless you're aware of your rights and take prompt action. If you have suffered due to a vehicle defect, here is what you need to do next.
The Nature of Automotive Defects
Not all vehicles that roll off the assembly line are created equal. Even with today's advanced manufacturing, sometimes flaws slip through the cracks. These defects range from minor annoyances to severe safety hazards. Just look at the staggering number of recalls issued annually; tens of millions of vehicles get pulled back in for repairs.
It's so important not to automatically blame yourself if any of these defect indicators are present. Driver error is one thing - but you have every right to expect that the high-tech safety components in your car will function properly when it matters most. If you have doubts, consult an objective automotive expert to analyze if a true malfunction occurred. Having the facts will empower you to take appropriate action if a preventable manufacturing issue contributed to the crash.
Understand Why the Accident Happened
The first thing to do is try to understand why and how the accident happened. NHTSA projected that there is a 10.5% increase in traffic crashes from 2020. Defects can range from faulty airbags, bad brakes, defective tires, or other issues. Knowing the root cause of the accident will help guide your next actions.
If you suspect that a defect was responsible, it's important to consult with experienced North Georgia car accident lawyers who specialize in cases involving automotive defects. They can assist you in navigating the legal complexities and ensure that you aren't unfairly held responsible for an accident resulting from manufacturing issues.
Gather Evidence from the Scene
Evidence from the accident scene will be crucial in proving that the accident was caused by a vehicle defect. Take photos and videos of the damage to your car and the location where the crash occurred. Get contact details of any witnesses who saw the accident happen. The more evidence you collect, the better.
Also, keep the vehicle in the condition it was in after the crash. Do not make any repairs, clean it extensively, or modify it in any way. Preserving the post-accident condition of the car allows investigators to examine it for defects.
Report the Incident
Reporting the accident caused by a vehicle defect is important to get it on the record. First, call the police if they are not already on the scene. Provide details about what happened and that you suspect a vehicle defect was involved. Ask the police to note this in their report.
You should also report the incident to the auto manufacturer and the NHTSA. The NHTSA tracks complaints and can investigate problems to force recalls if necessary. Reporting quickly alerts them to identify safety issues and prevent more accidents.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you do not think you were seriously injured, get medical attention after the accident. Symptoms of some injuries can take days or weeks to emerge. Having a doctor examine you promptly provides documentation in case any problems develop later. For maximum protection, tell your doctor you were in an accident caused by a vehicle defect.
Follow your doctor's recommendations for tests, treatments, and follow-up appointments. Be sure to keep all medical records related to the accident. These will serve as evidence of any injuries and expenses if you make an injury claim later.
Contact a Lawyer
It's crucial to get in touch with a lawyer after being involved in an accident caused by a car defect. A skilled attorney will carry out an investigation to establish that the cause was indeed a defect and not an error, on the part of the driver. They will collaborate with experts to examine both your vehicle and other defect-free vehicles for comparison.
Additionally, a lawyer will navigate through the procedures that typically follow such accidents. They handle communications with insurance companies. Determine whether it is advisable to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Their expertise makes it easier to handle these matters allowing you to focus on recovering from the incident.
Review Insurance Policies
Take some time to gather and look over all of your insurance information. Dig up your car insurance policy, extended warranty paperwork, or any other protection plans you may have for your vehicle. Go through them line by line and have a clear understanding of what is covered and what gaps exist.
Compare what is covered under those policies to the real-life damages, injuries, and losses you experienced in the accident. Were you fully protected? Or did the defective vehicle incident cause harm that your insurance plans don't address?
If there are gaps in coverage, discuss it with your lawyer. They may advise taking legal action against the auto manufacturer to recover some of those uncovered costs or losses. Having the full picture of your insurance protections will empower you and your legal team to make the smartest choices possible about how to recoup damages. Don't leave any stone unturned when it comes to comprehending your current safety net.
Exploring Compensation Options
If you find yourself in an accident caused by vehicle defects there are avenues to seek compensation, for your losses;
1. Car insurance settlements: Your first option is to pursue a settlement from your auto insurer. This can cover the costs of repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle along with any expenses that may have accumulated. It's worth noting that some insurance companies might initially reject a claim if the accident resulted from a defect. In cases seeking advice can be helpful to challenge those denials and appeal.
2. Lawsuit against the manufacturer: Another course of action is to file a lawsuit against the vehicle manufacturer. With the assistance of an attorney, you can take steps to seek compensation for bills lost income, pain and suffering, and other accident-related expenses. Lawsuits can be a way to recover the funds and get your life back on track.
3. Class action cases: There are instances where a class action lawsuit might already be in progress or where your attorney may recommend initiating one. If multiple vehicles were affected by the component joining forces with other injured parties through a class action lawsuit can strengthen your position and potentially result in a significant shared settlement.
It is crucial to document the details of your accident and injuries as this documentation will play a role, in supporting your pursuit of fair compensation through these available options.
When accidents occur due, to defects in automobiles those affected often feel a sense of betrayal. Are confronted with overwhelming difficulties. However, there is reason to remain optimistic. By documenting the incident promptly reporting it and seeking assistance from experts you can regain a sense of control. Financial compensation can alleviate the burdens caused by the accident while simultaneously holding manufacturers responsible and emphasizing the prioritization of safety, over gains.
You have the power to spark change from tragedy. Take action to ensure your injuries are the last from a defective vehicle. Promote transportation safety for all. With persistence and help, you can transform damage into progress. Turn hardship induced by defects into a driving force for positive change.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long do I have to file a claim after the accident?
Time limits exist for taking legal action, so it is important to act promptly. The statute of limitations sets a deadline for filing injury and liability claims in your state - often 2-3 years. Have your lawyer determine precise time limits that apply to your case.
- Will reporting the issue trigger a recall?
Reporting defects to the NHTSA can prompt investigations. If they confirm widespread issues with a vehicle component, they can force the manufacturer to recall the problematic parts. However, not every report leads to a recall, as the defects have to surpass certain thresholds.
- Can I get a rental car while mine is out of commission?
If you carry rental car reimbursement coverage on your policy, your insurer will pay for a rental for you. Or, compensation through a manufacturer lawsuit may cover rental fees while your vehicle is repaired or replaced. Discuss rental coverage options with both your insurer and attorney.