The invention of the automobile has revolutionized the lives of Americans, including those in Illinois. Distances once too far to travel can now be conquered in a day. With relatively simple functioning parts, the automobile is a tool that enables us to live our lives to the fullest. Yet at times, a car can also become a destructive force that leads to injuries. While most car accidents can be attributed to the fault of one or more drivers, about 10 to 15 percent of all accidents are estimated to be caused or contributed to by a mechanical failure of the car.
Automobile manufacturers are required by law to produce safe cars for the consumer to purchase. When even one part is faulty or poorly designed, an accident can result and can place the lives of many in danger. After an accident, investigators often review a vehicle to determine what caused the crash. In the case of a mechanical failure, the fault may lie with the original manufacturer of a vehicle, with the maker of a part that supplied the part to a manufacturer, or even with a repairman who serviced the car after it was purchased. Sometimes, anyone involved with the building or sale of the car can be liable. While the automobile is a simple functioning machine, its component parts are complicated and can lead to numerous failures, many of which are mechanical. Some common mechanical failures are:
- Power Steering – Power steering has been common for several decades and is so prevalent that many young drivers have never driven a car without it. Prior to the use of power steering, a driver had to manually turn the wheel and exert a significant amount of force to make the wheel turn. Since the invention of power steering, hydraulic or electric actuators supply power to the steering column, meaning that a driver must make only a small effort to turn the wheel in any direction. When there is a power steering failure, though, a car equipped with power steering becomes even harder to steer than those without power steering. For some drivers, it is impossible to steer the car at all. A power steering failure can be sudden and can happen while the car is in motion, significantly increasing the risk of an accident and making it more likely that the driver will not be able to adequately maintain control over the vehicle.
- Tire Blowout or Failure – Tires are a part of a car that do not get as much attention as they deserve. Tires have a direct effect on the safe movement of a vehicle and defects in the design or manufacture of a tire often lead to blowouts, or rapid deflation of a tire. When traveling at a high rate of speed, a tire blowout can easily cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle, sending it into oncoming traffic, off the road, or rolling over. Tire blowouts and defects have received a lot of coverage by the news media in the past 20 years and increased awareness about the dangers associated with some tires. Despite this, some tires continue to be manufactured in a defective manner and accidents continue to result.
- Brake Failure – Like many parts of a car, brakes, including brake pads, shoes, and fluid, need to be maintained and replaced periodically. The more you drive a car, the more the brakes begin to wear and the more often they will require maintenance. Some drivers like to “ride the brakes” where a driver simultaneously uses a brake and gas pedal. The car accelerates in these cases but not as quickly as normal and the brake undergoes extreme wear and stress. When brake components are improperly manufactured, repaired, or maintained, an accident is likely to result and can cause serious injuries.
- Faulty Defrosters – To many drivers, a defroster on a front or rear windshield may seem like a luxury item and not a safety device. Yet when a defroster does not work, the windshields may be foggy or icy and may decrease visibility. If a driver knows of a broken defroster before beginning to drive, a windshield can be scraped clear to allow for optimal visibility. Still, though, there is the possibility of fog forming on the glass as the car travels that might not be removable while the car is in motion. If ice or fog obscures visibility, a driver is much more likely to be involved in an accident.
- Sliding Floor Mats – Most floor mats today have a rubber undersurface designed to keep them in place and to prevent them from moving across the floor. Some older cars, though, do not have this safety feature and the floor mats can move from side to side and front to back beneath a driver’s feet. It is possible that these floor mats slide on top of the accelerator, causing a vehicle to speed up and preventing a driver from stopping the car. When this happens, if a driver is unable to gain control of the car, an accident may result and may injure the driver, passengers, or even those in other vehicles.
- Power Failure/Airbag Failure – Several popular models of vehicles have recently been revealed to have problems with power failures or power shutoffs. These in turn can lead to a situation where a driver cannot control a vehicle and therefore ends up in a collision, but when the power is off, airbags will not deploy in affected models. The failure of power and subsequent airbag can cause a collision, make injuries sustained in a collision more severe, or even lead to the death of those involved in a crash.
With thousands of parts in a standard vehicle, a mechanical failure can start in any system within the car and can be due to faulty manufacturing, faulty maintenance, or even improper installation. Regardless of what part causes a crash, generally it is not the driver’s fault or the driver’s negligence that leads to a collision. Usually it is the fault of the company that made, sold, or installed the part, depending on the specific facts of each accident.
Legal Action Following a Mechanical Failure Car Accident
The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. have thousands of hours experience representing the victims of automobile accidents. With our experience and our dedication to quality service, we fight for each client’s rights and for a fair recovery in each case. We make it our business to help victims and we are standing by now to help you as well.
If a mechanical failure has caused a car accident in Chicago and you were injured, either as a driver, a passenger, a cyclist, or a pedestrian, you may have a valid claim for relief. The laws in Illinois may enable you to recover financial compensation for the totality of your damages including any medical and emergency bills you incurred, lost wages you missed while you were unable to work, or pain and suffering you endured. The available relief in your case may vary depending on the facts of your crash so call Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us help you understand your rights and your options. We can be reached toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we will provide all accident victims with a free case consultation. There is no obligation on your part for speaking with us and everything discussed will be kept confidential.
If you are the victim of a mechanical failure, contact us online or call us at (855) LAW-CHICAGO today for a free case consultation.
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