Yes, it’s absolutely within your rights to file an insurance claim if your accident was caused by a vehicle defect or malfunction. Depending on the specifics of your situation, you could file this claim with your personal insurer, the manufacturer’s insurer, or even both.
If you’re unsure about the best course of action, consulting a Dallas product liability lawyer can provide clarity. They’ll be able to review your case and advise you on the next steps.
How to Determine if a Vehicle Defect or Malfunction Caused Your Accident
Understanding whether a vehicle defect or malfunction is to blame for your accident is critical for directing your subsequent actions. When something goes awry in your vehicle — for instance, when the brakes fail to engage or the steering wheel locks up during a crucial maneuver — we must consider that a technical glitch or malfunction could be the culprit. In the wake of such incidents, certain steps are paramount:
- Immediate Reporting: Whenever you encounter an issue with your vehicle’s behavior during or before an accident, ensure this information is shared with the relevant parties. This includes the police attending the scene and the representatives from your insurance company. Detailed reporting can play a pivotal role in subsequent investigations.
- Seek Legal Counsel: Engaging a trusted car accident law firm early on can be a game-changer. They can comprehensively probe the accident’s circumstances, amass compelling evidence, and strategize to ensure your rights are upheld. Work with your attorney when formalizing and filing your claim with the relevant insurance entities. Their expertise will ensure that your claim encapsulates all critical details and stands up to scrutiny.
- Mechanical Assessment: A certified mechanic or automotive technician can be instrumental in diagnosing the specific malfunction or defect that potentially triggered the accident. Their expert evaluation can offer invaluable insights and even serve as evidence should the need arise.
On the flip side, the situation might be less transparent if the malfunction occurred in the other party’s vehicle. Unless the other driver communicates the issue, you may be left in the dark, possibly assuming that the other driver was at fault, even if they were not. This underscores the importance of not jumping to conclusions and, instead, letting thorough investigations reveal the true nature of the accident.
Evidence Gathering for Car Accident Claims
Identifying the underlying cause of a car or vehicle accident can be a complex task. Therefore, it’s a smart move to let a seasoned motor vehicle accident lawyer assist. These professionals can amass pivotal evidence, such as:
- Manufacturing company records that shed light on past complaints and their awareness of the defect.
- Statements from the driver of the malfunctioning vehicle.
- Witness accounts or video evidence highlighting the defective car’s behavior.
- Expert testimonials affirming the malfunction’s role in the accident.
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Making a Claim After a Vehicle Malfunction Accident
With help from a legal representative, you can seek compensation if your accident was caused by a vehicle defect or malfunction by:
- Filing your claim within insurance company deadlines
- Collecting materials the insurance company requests, such as photos of your car or your medical records
- Preparing for interviews with the insurance adjuster
- Deciding what to say to the insurer if they make requests or offers you are not comfortable with
- Determining the fair value of your case
A law firm can be a great source of help and support as you go up against the insurance companies. Insurers, even your own, may try to undervalue your case so they do not have to pay you so much, regardless of your needs. If the insurance company resists providing fair compensation, your legal representative may be able to negotiate a just settlement.
Suing After a Vehicle Defect or Malfunction
If your claim falls through and you file a lawsuit against the manufacturer, you must do so within two years of the accident date, according to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003.
Your personal injury lawyer can help you complete a lawsuit against the parts manufacturer. This process can be lengthy and complex, and it may involve:
- Finding witnesses to write statements or to testify in court
- Setting trial dates
- Making opening and closing remarks in front of a jury
This may sound stressful, but not to worry: most cases do not go to trial. Even when a lawyer starts preparing for a court case, many insurers agree to a settlement at the last minute.
If your case goes to trial, a car accident attorney with our firm can represent you in the courtroom.
What if the Manufacturer Did Not Cause the Malfunction?
Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the product is safe for public use and promptly recalling the product if an unexpected problem occurs. They are not generally responsible for the product’s upkeep and maintenance once sold.
For example, say that:
- Your car’s brakes were in good working order when you bought the car
- You eventually notice the brakes making an unusual sound whenever you use them, so you take the car to the mechanic
- The mechanic tells you everything is fine or has resolved the issue
- You subsequently get into an accident when your brakes malfunction despite the mechanic’s assurance that they were operational.
In cases like these, you may be able to sue the mechanic or auto repair shop for failing to do their job or being dishonest about your vehicle’s safety.
How can you know for sure what caused your vehicle’s malfunction? You could hire a personal injury attorney to investigate your accident. They can collect and examine all available evidence until they know whether your collision occurred due to faulty vehicle maintenance or an intrinsic flaw with your vehicle.
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If a Vehicle Malfunction Led to Your Accident, Reach Out
After a vehicle accident caused by a defect or malfunction, you can make a claim. The process can be streamlined with assistance from our team at Loncar Lyon Jenkins. Contact us for a complimentary case evaluation. We’ve been guiding clients through claims and lawsuits since 1988.