According to the Information Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 543 single-vehicle accidents in South Carolina during 2019, accounting for 54 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, far too many people falsely believe that a single-vehicle accident must be the fault of the driver. While this liability is certainly true in some circumstances, it’s not true in every case.
Single vehicle accidents can be caused by:
- Being run off the road
- Flying objects
- Animal crossings
- Poor road design, construction, or repairs
- Weather and road conditions
Another significant cause of single-vehicle accidents is vehicle defects. When a vehicle or its parts are improperly and unsafely designed, manufactured, or installed, it could lead to a severe single-vehicle accident. For example, suppose you or someone you love was recently in a single-vehicle accident. In that case, it’s in your best interest to meet with an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney. During this meeting, you can provide them with the crucial details concerning the accident. Knowing these details can help your attorney determine who might be liable for your injuries and other damages.
Types of Vehicle Defects That Can Cause Accidents
Modern vehicles are marvels of technology, usefulness, craftsmanship, and design. However, they aren’t without their dangers and flaws. Although automobile defects don’t cause as many accidents as driver error, they still occur. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the leading causes of defect-related automobile accidents are:
- Braking system deficiency
- Steering deficiency
- Tire or wheel deficiency
- Lighting deficiency
- Transmission deficiency
- View obstruction (which might not be a liability for the car maker)
Each of these deficiencies could arise from a combination of driver error and part defect. If a part of the car fails, the driver must do everything they can to avoid a crash as per South Carolina law. Although, depending on the type and severity of the defect, a collision may be unavoidable.
Who Is Responsible for a Vehicle Defect?
In general, if the defective part is included in the original equipment on the vehicle, the vehicle’s manufacturer is liable for the accident. Most cars have an implied warranty—meaning that the automobile manufacturer is still responsible even if a different part manufacturer made the part. Most of the time, they are made by a different one.
However, suppose the vehicle’s owner adds accessories or devices or changes out some vehicle parts. In that case, it may alter who is liable for an accident. For example, if the defective part is not part of the vehicle’s original assembly, the matter becomes more complex.
It’s imperative to note that if a car accident gives rise to a product liability claim, the injured party must establish that the defective product was the exact cause of their injuries. For example, suppose the injured party simply didn’t know how to use the product correctly, or they were ignorant. In that case, the product’s manufacturer may have little, if any, liability for their injuries.
By hiring a seasoned South Carolina car accident lawyer, you can be assured that you will learn what caused your single-vehicle accident and who is responsible.
Altering Car Parts
Car manufacturers are required to anticipate foreseeable misuse and alterations of the product. They are obligated to keep this anticipation in mind while developing a product. “Foreseeable” is a critical part of these cases. A motorist exceeding the speed limit is foreseeable. It’s foreseeable that a motorist might navigate a turn too fast. It’s also foreseeable that a vehicle’s owner might tint its windows too dark. It’s unrealistic to expect that the manufacturer can envision all of the ways in which a car could be misused or altered. Settlement negotiations and arguments in court often center around this point of contention if a single-vehicle accident was potentially the result of a defective part.
Injured parties who altered or misused their vehicle or its parts leading to their injuries, especially if there are clear warnings present, shouldn’t expect an extensive financial recovery in their case. For example, the manufacturer in question might make a good-faith settlement offer during negotiations simply to protect their reputation. However, the injured party should be prepared to receive a small settlement offer based on what they can establish with their claim. You can discuss how much compensation you could receive for your specific claim with your South Carolina car accident attorney.
If you sustained injury due to the failure of a defective part or system in your vehicle, you have the right to pursue compensation from the manufacturer through the legal system. Car assembly plants typically use parts from many suppliers. As such, car manufacturers are often unaware of problems with any parts from their suppliers.
In turn, the car manufacturer can then file suit against the company that made the defective part. In these cases, the part manufacturer is a third-party defendant. The car manufacturer still has its liability, but it also gives some remedy to the car’s manufacturer when settling with the injured party. Even though the vehicle manufacturer could still be liable for the injured party’s damages, they can potentially recoup some of their money through a third-party lawsuit against the specific part’s manufacturer.
Call a Well-Versed South Carolina Car Accident Attorney Today
Just because you were in a single-vehicle accident, don’t naturally assume it was your fault. It’s imperative to have a well-versed South Carolina car accident lawyer review the details of your case to determine what your legal rights and next steps are. For example, suppose another party, such as your vehicle’s manufacturer, was at fault for causing your accident. In that case, you could be owed compensation under South Carolina law.
At McCravy Law, our experienced South Carolina car accident lawyers serve injured clients from six different South Carolina locations, including Anderson, Greenwood, Greenville, Laurens, Spartanburg, and Saluda. Call our office today at (864) 388-9100 to speak with an intake specialist or chat with them online.