While we often think of car accidents as the unfortunate result of careless driving, this is not always the case. At least not entirely. Many accidents are related to defective vehicle parts, and you can sue various parties for damages.
A lawsuit for a car accident caused by faulty car parts may fall under the category of product liability. Compensation available in such cases may include, but is not necessarily limited to, medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and possibly punitive damages. The party that pays compensation for your injuries might depend on where the faulty car parts came from. Vehicle manufacturers, auto mechanics, and auto parts retailers might all be implicated.
If you believe your accident happened because of defective vehicle parts, call our Maryland car accident attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a confidential, free review of your case.
What Kind of Compensation is Available in Accident Cases From Faulty Vehicle Parts in Maryland
Suing for an accident caused by defective vehicle parts is not that unusual. You have likely heard stories in the news about car companies issuing recalls on certain makes and models of cars. This is usually because the car companies realize they have produced faulty vehicle parts and must replace them before someone is hurt. Unfortunately, many recalls come too late, and unsuspecting drivers are badly hurt.
If you file a product liability lawsuit for the faulty vehicle parts, you can claim extensive economic damages, depending on your injuries and costs. Common economic damages in car accident lawsuits include medical bills, lost earnings from taking time away from work, and vehicle repair or replacement costs.
Let’s start with the car repairs, seeing as your defective car parts got you here in the first place. If your accident is major, your vehicle might be totaled. Not only must you replace the defective part that caused the crash, but you must replace the entire vehicle. The defendant, often the car manufacturer, should pay for these damages. Even if your accident is relatively minor and your car is not completely destroyed, you might still encounter expensive repairs.
Medical bills are another major factor in economic damages. Even minor injuries from vehicle accidents can lead to big hospital bills. For example, you might experience painful whiplash, broken bones, lacerations, neck injuries, back and spinal cord injuries, or even brain damage. The more treatment you need (e.g., emergency surgery, x-rays, medicine), the higher your hospital bills will likely be.
After a car accident, it is normal for injured drivers to take some time away from work. You might be in too much pain to work, or you might be physically incapable of working at all. The longer you are away from work, the more income you might lose. You and your attorney should sit down and calculate how much income you lost and add it to your damages.
You can also claim extensive non-economic damages after a car accident caused by a faulty car part. Accidents can be frightening, and survivors are often left in great pain and emotional distress. These painful experiences can linger for a long time and have a significant negative impact on your life.
Even minor injuries might come with significant physical pain. For example, whiplash injuries can be very painful and might last for days, weeks, months, or longer. While pain does not technically cost you money, the experience should still be compensated.
Many people report feeling very humiliated after an accident involving faulty car parts. For example, you might slam into another car because your brakes failed. At the moment, nobody knows your brakes failed, they might blame you for the crash, and you might feel terrible and embarrassed. You should be compensated for those feelings.
Punitive damages are rare but still possible. Rather than compensate plaintiffs for injuries, punitive damages are meant to punish defendants and deter future bad behavior. If your accident was part of a large recall and numerous other drivers were injured, you might stand a better chance of getting substantial punitive damages. Juries might want to punish defendants for causing so many accidents and deter such behavior in the future.
To get punitive damages, plaintiffs must show how the defendant acted with actual malice as defined under Md. Cts. and Jud. Proc. § 5-301(b). Actual malice often includes some sort of evil intent, ill will, or improper motive. Perhaps the car manufacturer knew they were producing defective parts but chose not to issue a recall until too many people had been injured. Such behavior might warrant punitive damages.
Who Pays Compensation for Accidents Caused by Defective Car Parts in Maryland?
When filing claims for compensation related to faulty car parts, a major concern is whom to sue. The person, people, or entities you name in your lawsuit may be responsible for paying your damages. A lawsuit related to defective vehicle parts might involve many parties, and your lawyer can help you determine who should be sued and why.
Of course, our Annapolis car accident lawyers can begin by examining the manufacturer of the vehicle and the defective car parts. If you bought your vehicle new, the manufacturer of the car is the likely culprit behind the defective parts and the accident. Additionally, you can sue other people in the chain of sale, including the car dealership who sold you the faulty car.
Not all faulty car parts come from the manufacturer. Perhaps you have owned your car for several years and took it to a mechanic for maintenance, and the mechanics installed new, faulty parts. Those new parts might have been manufactured by a different company than the one that manufactured your car. You can sue the manufacturer of the specific part, and even the auto mechanic who installed it if they should have known it was defective.
Call Our Maryland Car Accident Lawyers if You Were Injured Because of Faulty Car Parts
Call our Baltimore car accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to arrange a private, free review of your case.