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Auto defects and car accidents in Connecticut: What you should know

Auto defects are responsible for a significant number of car accidents every year in Connecticut.

Any number of items could go wrong with a vehicle: the radio could stop working, the air conditioner could be defective or the lining on the seats could tear easily. While any of these factors could be frustrating for a driver in Connecticut, they likely would not cause a life-or-death situation.

Unfortunately, defective automobiles or car parts can cause car accidents that lead to serious injuries and fatalities. Anyone who owns or operates a car should have an understanding of what defects are and how they are related to crashes.

How common are defect-related accidents?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2015 released its National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, which examined 5,470 motor vehicle accidents that took place between 2005 and 2007. Researchers assumed the sample represented approximately 2,189,000 wrecks across the country.

Of those, the survey found that vehicle-related factors accounted for approximately 44,000 incidents. Those factors could have included issues with the tires, steering or braking, for example. Though the survey does not clarify whether these issues were classified as defects or not, it is clear that an issue with the car itself was involved in the incident.

What constitutes a defect?

A safety-related car defect is an issue with either the car or equipment in the car that compromises the safety of the driver or the general public. Some common types of defects that could easily result in a crash include the following:

  • Sticking or locking accelerators
  • A defective steering component or malfunctioning tires
  • Windshield wipers that do not function appropriately
  • A wiring issue that causes headlights to go out

Spotting a defect requires regular maintenance of a vehicle as well as taking a problematic car in as soon as possible. Ignoring the issue could lead to a tragedy.

What do I do if the defect causes an accident?

Manufacturers are held strictly liable for car defects, which means they must correct the problem. If the issue is caught prior to the accident, the manufacturer must either fix the defect or replace the vehicle. If the issue leads to an accident, the victims have the right to hold the manufacturer accountable for damages.

In Connecticut, the law states that any claims arising from a product liability issue must be filed within three years of the discovery of the issue. Further, there is a 10-year statute of repose, which means if it has been 10 years since the product has left the manufacturer, the manufacturer may no longer be held liable.

Making a record of any evidence and pursuing a claim as soon as possible is key to recovering compensation for damages. People who wish to know more about this topic should speak with a personal injury attorney in Connecticut.

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*AV Preeminent and BV Distinguished are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.

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