What Happens When a Vehicle Defect Causes a Car Crash?

When a malfunction causes a motor vehicle accident, driver negligence no longer determines liability in the case.

Not all car crashes happen because someone makes a driving error. Plenty of auto accidents occur because of a vehicle defect. When that happens, the vehicle manufacturer may face liability under Colorado's defective design laws.

Types of Vehicle Defects

A vehicle might be defective because of faulty design. An example of this might be when a car manufacturer creates a wheel bearing design that's likely to get stuck and spin the vehicle out of control.

A vehicle defect can also exist because the manufacturer makes a mistake when they build the vehicle. For example, a manufacturer accidentally makes a door an irregular size and fails to notice the error before it is placed in a vehicle and sent for sale.

How to Recover Compensation for a Vehicle Defect

To recover for losses because of a personal injury that results from a vehicle defect, Colorado law requires you to show that the design was unreasonably dangerous.

In most car accident cases, this isn't difficult to prove because the crash likely wouldn't have occurred if the vehicle hadn't been dangerous. You might show that there are better designs that the manufacturer could have used, or you might just show that there was an error in the construction of that particular vehicle.

Common Defenses Auto Manufacturers Use

There are a few typical defenses to defective vehicle cases that you may encounter if you pursue a claim. The manufacturer may try to argue that it was driver negligence and not a design defect that caused the crash.

Or they might try to argue that the design isn't defective and that the crash occurred because the driver tried to use the vehicle in an unusual way. They might say that the driver modified the vehicle in a way that absolves them of any liabilities. This might happen in a situation where an owner exchanges parts or uses irregular tires.

If you are met with one of these defenses, your attorney can help you address them. You may need to prove that the vehicle manufacturer is incorrect about the cause of the crash. You may need to bring a case against both the other driver and the manufacturer. Your attorney can help you evaluate your case and determine the best way forward.

Vehicle Defects and the Discovery Process

In a defective vehicle case, part of the challenge might be figuring out exactly what went wrong with the vehicle to cause the crash. In fact, you might not know immediately that a defective design or manufacturing defect is to blame.

Fortunately, Colorado law has avenues to help you learn this information in order to get to the bottom of what exactly happened in your case.

First of all, you can serve “discovery” on the other party. Discovery might require the vehicle manufacturer to produce copies of other personal injury reports that they have received for the same vehicle. This can help you determine if the vehicle's design has caused other accidents. You can also order the manufacturer to answer written questions under oath. This can help you determine what the manufacturer knew about the defect and when they knew it.

Preparing your case can also include working with an expert. An automotive technician can look at what happened in your case and inspect the vehicle involved. They can use this information to create an expert opinion about the cause of your accident. This can help prove your case to the jury.

What to Expect During Your Defective Vehicle Case

A defective vehicle lawsuit is a civil case. The case begins when you file a complaint in the appropriate court. The other side has time to respond. Next, you and your attorney have time to prepare your case and gather evidence. You might pursue settlement, or you may take your case to trial.

There are limits on how long you have to file a case (known as the “statute of limitations”). While you may have up to seven years from the time of the accident to bring a defective vehicle case, time limits are shorter for other types of cases. Some accidents have limitations of a year or less. You should see an attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your rights. Your attorney can help you file your case within the deadlines in the appropriate court.

Have you or someone you love been involved in an accident caused by a vehicle defect? Are you uncertain about the cause of the accident and need help investigating? The car accident attorneys at the Babcock Law Firm are prepared to help you through your Colorado car accident case.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

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