Many auto accidents are caused by defective vehicles. In some cases a vehicle becomes defective due to an owner’s modifications or failure to properly maintain the vehicle. More often vehicle defects originate with manufacturers and fall under the legal category of product liability.
Vehicle defects can make an auto more likely to crash, or they can increase the likelihood and severity of injuries in the event of an accident.
Brake systems are complex and can fail for many reasons including improper installation and design flaws. Hydraulic lines, discs, rotors, and calipers are just some of the parts that can fail. Defects in the brake system may not be noticeable until the brakes fail suddenly, causing a serious accident.
Acceleration defects can cause spontaneous acceleration while the vehicle is in motion or while it is at a complete stop. When in motion, the vehicle suddenly speeds up on its own. When at a stop, the vehicle suddenly accelerates and launches forward or in reverse.
Only three percent of auto accidents are rollovers, but they account for over 30% of all fatal accidents. Most rollovers are single vehicle accidents. Under the right conditions, any vehicle can roll, but without design flaws or other defects it takes very extreme conditions.
- Design flaw — A high center of gravity makes a vehicle much more likely to roll. Due to their high center of gravity, SUVs are the most likely to roll, followed by minivans and pick-up trucks. As passengers are added to the vehicle, the vehicles become more top heavy making them even more dangerous.
- Faulty tires — Tires which fail can also trigger a rollover. Defective tires, such as those recalled by Bridgestone in 2000 and 2001, can fail suddenly causing a rollover during normal driving conditions.
Defects affecting crashworthiness can make the injuries caused by a rollover more severe. Roof crush is a common result of rollover accidents, and it occurs due to design flaws.
Crashworthiness refers to a vehicle’s ability to protect occupants in the event of a crash. Defects which affect a vehicle’s crashworthiness do not increase the risk of having an accident, but cause more harm in the event of a crash.
- Roof crush — Inadequate roof crush resistance allows the roof of the vehicle to enter the occupied space, usually during a rollover. This is often cause by hollow roof pillars.
- Seat belts — Latch failure, slack in the belt, and belts which apply force in a direction that causes secondary impact can cause worse injuries than the crash itself.
- Air bags — Air bags which fail to deploy in the event of a crash or deploy with too much force can cause serious injuries. Airbags which deploy when no crash has occurred can cause accidents.
- Fuel-fed fire — Fuel tanks which are poorly designed or poorly placed can explode during an accident. Defective or poorly designed fuel systems can cause gas leaks leading to fires.
- Door latches — When a door comes open during a crash, vehicle occupants can be ejected causing serious injuries or death in an accident that might otherwise have cause only minor injuries or no injuries at all.
- Seats — Seats which crumple during a rear end collision can cause serious injuries or death. Other seat defects include poorly designed or defective adjusters, backs, anchors, and headrests
If you or a family member has been seriously injured in an auto accident caused by a defective vehicle in Denver, Colorado or anywhere in the Rocky Mountain region, you will need an experienced defective vehicle auto accident lawyer to represent you. Burg Simpson has the experience, and the resources, to ensure that you can recover the damages you deserve for your injuries and your losses. Please contact our auto accident lawyers today to schedule your free personal consultation.