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When Is Product Liability a Factor in an Illinois Car Crash?

Posted on in Defective Products

IL injury lawyerIn Illinois and throughout the United States, the vast majority of car accidents are caused by the actions of at least one of the drivers involved. However, there are sometimes other contributing factors. In recent years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that in approximately 4 percent of accident cases, the critical reason for the crash can be attributed to either the vehicle itself or the surrounding environment. In some of these cases, a defective part or product may be fully or partially responsible for the collision and resulting injuries. If you have been injured in a single-vehicle or multi-vehicle accident, an experienced attorney can help you determine whether you may have a claim for compensation based on product liability.

Defective Car Parts

Cars and other motor vehicles include a number of features to both ensure that they can be safely operated, and to protect drivers who are involved in collisions. If any of these features fails or malfunctions in the time leading up to an accident or after the impact, serious injuries can result. Some examples of defective auto parts that may contribute to accidents include:

  • Seat belts - Seat belt restraints are meant to reduce the injuries that a driver or passenger may suffer in a car accident, but a design or manufacturing defect could mean that they are unable to withstand the force of a collision and fulfill their intended purpose.
  • Airbags - Like seat belts, airbags play an important role in protecting vehicle occupants in the event of a collision. Defective airbags could fail to deploy upon impact.
  • Tires - Defective tires may rupture without warning and cause a driver to lose control, resulting in a single-vehicle or multi-car accident.
  • Brakes - Brake failure due to defects can prevent a driver from safely reacting in time to slow and avoid a collision.
  • Accelerators - Defective acceleration pedals can sometimes stick, and in some recent cases, vehicles have been known to accelerate against the driver’s intentions.
  • Cruise control - Newer vehicles commonly have automated features, like adaptive cruise control and lane maintenance, that help drivers maintain control of their vehicles in traffic. However, if these systems fail, the driver may not have time to react to avoid an accident.

Does Product Liability Apply in My Case?

In Illinois, vehicle designers, manufacturers, and retailers can be liable for injuries caused by defects in their products. Sometimes a defective part may be the primary reason for an accident, in which case one of these parties may be mostly or fully responsible for compensating injury victims. Even in cases involving driver negligence, product manufacturers and designers can be partially liable if the failure of safety features led to more serious injuries than would have otherwise occurred. However, a designer, manufacturer, or retailer may be protected from product liability if the malfunction was due to improper maintenance or unsafe alterations, or if they had issued a recall addressing the failed parts and properly notified the vehicle’s owner.

Contact a Lake County Personal Injury Attorney

At Salvi & Maher, L.L.C., we will investigate your accident to identify any liable parties and make a plan to pursue the compensation you need. If product liability applies in your case, we can help you handle the complications that will likely arise. For a free initial consultation, contact us at 847-662-3303 and speak with our experienced Waukegan car accident lawyers.






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