Car Accidents Caused By Vehicle Safety Defects
Unfortunately, car accidents are a common occurrence in the United States, leading to more than 38,000 fatalities per year. Usually, car accidents happen as a direct result of driver negligence, whether it’s distracted driving, driving while intoxicated, or speeding. Dangerous road conditions, such as poor weather and construction, can also be contributing factors. There are situations, however, in which a car accident is not the fault of the driver but rather the fault of a defective part in the car itself. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 44,000 accidents were directly caused by vehicle defects from 2005-2007. In those cases, no matter how careful the driver is, something can go horribly wrong resulting in catastrophic injuries and even death.
If you or your loved one has been involved in a car accident caused by a vehicle defect, you will need a Washington DC car accident lawyer to advocate for your rights. The car defect lawyers at Regan Zambri Long will investigate the crash site and work with industry experts to discover what parts of your car had dangerous defects. They partner with police and medical providers to assess property damage and medical expenses to ensure you recover proper compensation. The aftermath of a car accident is traumatic, both physically and emotionally. The last thing you need while you’re fighting to recover is to fight a lengthy legal battle on top of it. The Regan Zambri Long attorneys will carry the weight of the legal processes so you can focus on complete healing. The firm offers free consultations to prospective clients, and only recovers a fee if they reach a settlement or verdict in your favor. Contact Regan Zambri Long today to speak with one of Washington DC’s top car accident attorneys.
What is a motor vehicle safety defect?
Title 49, Chapter 30 of The United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety defines “safety” as the performance of a motor vehicle, or equipment in a motor vehicle, that protects drivers and passengers against unreasonable risk of accidents while driving, or unreasonable risk of death or injury if an accident occurs. A “defect” is any flaw in performance, construction, a component, or material of the motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment.
Since the Motor Vehicle Safety Act was put into effect in 1966, more than 390 million cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and mopeds have been recalled to correct safety defects. Many manufacturers will voluntarily issue the recall, while others have to be urged by the NHTSA. If a defect is discovered, the manufacturer must notify the NHTSA, as well as all consumers operating the manufacturers’ vehicles. They are then required by law to fix the defect at no charge to the vehicle owner and must do so in a timely manner.
What are the most common types of car safety defects that cause injury?
- The failure of airbags to deploy in a car accident can increase the risk of serious injury to the driver and passengers.
- Airbags deploying suddenly when they should not can lead to vision obstruction and an overreaction by the driver, which could result in a collision.
- Airbags deploying with too much force or too quickly can lead to severe injuries, including broken bones, deep bruising, and even death.
- Seatbelts: Seatbelts that unbuckle during a car accident greatly increase the risk of the driver and passengers being ejected from the vehicle during the collision.
- Electrical system defects: These defects can cause the lighting to fail in the car, including headlights. An improperly wired car can also result in a sudden car fire.
- Acceleration and brake failure: Acceleration and brake controls may break or stick, causing the driver to lose control and make it impossible to accelerate or stop the car, which could result in a collision at a very high speed.
- Steering failure: If steering wheels break suddenly, it can cause partial or total loss of vehicle control.
- Tire failure: Any defect in a tire can cause the tire to pop, resulting in the driver losing control of the vehicle and possibly flipping the car.
- Fuel system components: Fuel defects can result in leakage of fuel and cause car fires.
- Windshield wipers: If not properly assembled or installed, windshield wipers can fail to operate correctly, resulting in poor visibility for the driver.
What are Washington DC’s vehicle recall standards?
According to the Washington DC DMV, vehicle recall information was added to inspection sites to raise awareness among DC residents. The DMV employees can now educate patrons about open recalls and encourage them to contact dealerships for free repairs. Honda is the one of the most popular cars in Washington DC and has partnered with the DC DMV to emphasize the importance of following up on safety recalls. Washingtonians should also be mindful that Mercedes Benz, another favorite manufacturer in DC and the surrounding areas, had the highest rate of recalls between 2013 and 2017. Finally, ride sharing, an extremely popular mode of transportation in the DC Metro area, also needs to be closely monitored for vehicle recalls. A 2019 Consumer Report review found that 1 in 6 rideshare vehicles carry unaddressed safety defects. The DC-based defective product attorneys at Regan Zambri Long are experts on Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland car accident laws and automotive insurance policies. They have secured millions for their clients and can determine if you have a successful defective product lawsuit in Washington DC and the surrounding areas.
Will my insurance company cover the costs of a car accident caused by a defective vehicle?
Car crashes can result in debilitating injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, nerve damage, and paralysis. Emotional effects like PTSD, shock, and an onset of anxiety can last years after an accident. Unfortunately, these conditions cost money and victims of car accidents find themselves with an onslaught of expenses from an unexpected, life-altering moment. This is why the most important step following a car accident, after calling the police and seeking immediate medical attention, is making the phone call to your insurance company. Washington DC requires drivers to carry certain types of auto insurance coverage, but following a car crash, that coverage is usually not enough to offset medical expenses and lost wages. Keep in mind, when you call your insurance company after being involved in a car accident, you will not deal with your own insurance agent. Rather, your insurance company will send a claims adjuster whose sole job is to prioritize the insurance company’s best interests, not yours. They will do everything they can to pay the minimum of what is owed to you. This is why it is essential to have a car defect lawyer from Regan Zambri Long on your side before you call your insurance company.
How can a Washington DC car accident lawyer help me with my claim?
The car accident attorneys at Regan Zambri Long have extensive knowledge in various insurance policies and laws in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland and can help you recover the compensation you deserve. This is particularly helpful in cases involving large car manufacturers, who have the money for lengthy litigation. Fortunately, the leading defective vehicle lawyers at Regan Zambri Long also have abundant financial backing and will see your case through to the very end. The lawyers are known for having tender compassion when speaking with their clients in the office and a ferocity while protecting their rights in the courtroom. There are countless testimonials from past clients, thanking Regan Zambri Long for helping during a highly emotional and stressful time.
While you focus on recovering, your car accident lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to reach the highest settlement possible in order to cover your medical bills, vehicle damage, and lost wages. Insurance companies are prone to settling once they see a Regan Zambri Long car accident lawyer attached to your case – they don’t want to go to trial or be involved in litigation. It can be a difficult road to recovery following a car accident, but this is one step of the journey you don’t have to do alone. Allow the attorneys at Regan Zambri Long to help lift the financial burden off of you, so you can take your time in the healing process without having to worry about money.
Frequently Asked Questions about Car Accidents Caused by Vehicle Defects
How do I check if my car has been recalled?
What is a VIN number?
A VIN number is essentially a barcode that provides specific information about your vehicle. No two VIN numbers are the same.
Where can I find my VIN number?
The VIN number can be found on the lower-left corner of the dashboard, in front of the steering wheel. It also appears in many other locations:
- Front of the engine block
- Front of the car frame
- Rear wheel well
- Inside the driver-side doorjamb
- Diver-side doorpost
- Underneath the spare tire
My car has a defect. Where do I report this?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers three ways to report vehicle defects. The first is the Vehicle Safety Hotline, which is toll free from anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The hotline has both English and Spanish-speaking representatives and offers a dedicated number for anyone with hearing impairments.
1-800-424-9153 (for persons with hearing impairments)
The NHTSA also offers a website, safercar.gov to report vehicle safety issues. You can fill out the VOQ online to help facilitate the recall process. Finally, the last way is to report a safety complaint is via U.S. Mail. Send your letter to:
U.S. Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210)
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington DC 20590
What should I do immediately following a car accident in Washington, DC?
There are several “do’s and don’ts” to be mindful of after being involved in a car accident.
- DO: Call 911 to inform the police of the accident. They will alert medics, help direct traffic away from the site, and create a police report. Fully cooperate with the police at the scene of the accident.
- DON’T: Allow the other driver to talk you into not calling the police. Do not take any money from the other driver and do not leave the scene of the accident until you are told to do so by the police.
- DO: Take note of immediate injuries, both your own and any passengers in your car. Tell the police about the injuries immediately and seek medical attention right away.
- DON’T: Brush off any aches or pains you feel after an accident. Injuries can worsen over time. Brain injuries are not always apparent right away. Take every ache and pain seriously.
- DO: Assess the damage done to your vehicle and belongings inside the vehicle. Take pictures and video of the damage and keep that documentation safe.
- DO: Get the information of the other driver and any witnesses to the crash. If the driver refuses to give you details, you can gather the information from the police report.
- DO: Contact a DC car accident lawyer for a consultation.
- DON’T: Contact your insurance company before you call a car accident attorney.
I was in an Uber accident caused by a vehicle defect. Will I be able to submit a claim?
Yes, you are able to file a claim if you were involved in an accident while riding in an Uber. As a passenger in a rideshare, you are not responsible for the car accident. If the accident happened during a ride, Uber’s insurance policy will cover up to $1 million. However, rideshare companies frequently try to avoid liability for accidents, which is why a consultation with an Uber accident lawyer will be beneficial.
What are the types of defective product claims?
- Design defects: These are inherent flaws in the design of a product. For example, in a car, a design defeat would be top-heavy construction that would make the car more likely to roll over.
- Manufacturing defects: These defects happen during the creation of the product. If a brake is not created or installed properly, there is a chance they will not work properly in operation of the vehicle.
- Marketing defects: These defects imply safe usage of the product that is dangerous or give false promises of safety. In an advertisement campaign of an SUV, the marketing may show the vehicle off-roading when it’s not actually equipped to do so.
Will crashworthiness play a role in my vehicle defect lawsuit?
It may. The car manufacturers are responsible for ensuring their vehicles are crashworthy. This means they have to prove that the body and safety components in their cars will protect the driver and passengers in the event of a car accident. During a car crash, your vehicle should maintain its shape, absorb the energy of the hit away from the occupants, and discourage the eruption of fires.
How much should I expect to receive in compensation for my car accident claim?
While it’s difficult to calculate the exact amount you’ll receive in a settlement or verdict, the Regan Zambri Long lawyers will work diligently to recover the maximum amount owed to you. The sum depends on the severity of your injuries and your need for medical care following the accident. They work to recover economic damages, such as medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. You can also file claims to recover non-economic damages, such as physical pain, mental trauma, and unexpected losses.
What is the difference between a settlement and a verdict?
A settlement is when the insurance company agrees to pay the proper amount of compensation to the victim following a car accident. It is the ideal outcome of filing a claim, however, many insurance companies don’t give up easily. That’s why the car accident attorneys at Regan Zambri Long prepare for trial as soon as they take on your case. If a settlement can’t be reached, then the attorney will file a lawsuit against the insurance company. Regan Zambri Long has recovered millions in case verdicts for their clients and will work tirelessly to secure a favorable verdict for you.