What Are My Legal Options if a Vehicle Defect Caused My Crash?
Car crashes can happen for a variety of reasons, from negligent driving behaviors to poor road conditions. In some cases, a defective part can cause an accident, such as faulty brakes, defective airbags, or a damaged steering system.
Since Colorado is a fault insurance state that requires the at-fault driver to pay for your damages, you may wonder what to do if another driver isn’t responsible for the crash at all. While you may not be able to name an at-fault driver, you do have options to seek compensation from a liable party through a defective product lawsuit.
After seeking medical attention for your injuries, contact a Denver car accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.
Types of Product Liability Claims
There are three types of product liability claims you can file in Colorado: manufacturing defects, design defects, and a failure to warn. Your product liability attorney can help you determine which type of claim is appropriate for your case.
- Manufacturing defect lawsuits allege the defect occurred during the manufacturing process, leading to a defective and dangerous product that is an anomaly compared to its intended design.
- Design defect lawsuits allege the defect is inherent in the product design itself. These claims will examine whether the design’s danger outweighs the benefits of the product.
- Failure to warn lawsuits allege that the manufacturer failed to warn consumers of the dangerous aspects of the product.
Who Is Liable for a Vehicle Defect Accident?
Manufacturers of automotive parts have a duty to ensure that their products are safe and free from defects. If you experience an accident due to a defective auto part, you can hold anyone along the chain of production and distribution responsible for your injuries. These defendants may include the following parties.
- Vehicle manufacturers
- Auto parts manufacturers
- Car dealerships
The parties you name in your lawsuit will depend on the cause of your crash. To determine who is responsible for your defect, you will need to conduct a thorough investigation. You may also need to contact expert witnesses who can help you determine the cause of your accident and identify the liable party or parties. Your attorney can connect you with these resources.
How to Prove a Vehicle Defect Lawsuit
Once you identify the nature of the vehicle defect and name the liable parties, you and your lawyer will need to begin building your claim. In Colorado product liability claims, you must establish that the defendant or defendants in your case acted in negligence to secure a settlement.
To prove the at-fault party’s negligence, you will need to prove four key elements.
- You suffered an injury or losses.
- The vehicle part is defective.
- The defect caused your injury.
- You used the product as the manufacturer intended.
For example, say that you are driving in your vehicle when your airbag suddenly deploys without any impact. The surprise deployment causes you to lose control of your vehicle, hitting a telephone pole and suffering severe injuries.
To prove that you experienced an injury, you can provide medical records to the court and have a medical expert testify on your behalf. Your attorney can gather technical evidence and additional expert witnesses who can verify that the product is defective. He or she may also demonstrate the difference between a defective and functional airbag in the courtroom to illustrate how the accident occurred.
The medical expert witness can provide insight into what caused your injury. Surveillance footage, witness testimony, and medical records can verify this causation and the fact you used the airbag as intended.
If you are suffering from injuries due to a defective auto part, you deserve fair compensation, and a product liability lawsuit can help you obtain justice. However, you will need an attorney on your side to investigate your claim and deliver a compelling argument to the court.