Car accidents can happen for several reasons. In many cases, dangerous and negligent driving behavior causes these collisions, such as running a red light or driving over the speed limit. In others, poor weather, low visibility, and dangerous road hazards like potholes or loose gravel are contributing factors. Many car accidents occur due to mechanical failures, which may or may not be the fault of the driver. In some cases, you could file a lawsuit against an auto part manufacturer after an accident caused by defective mechanical parts.
California is a fault-based car accident state. Under this system, drivers who cause accidents must pay for the damages that their victims suffered. These damages may include medical expenses, vehicle repairs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you are injured in an accident caused by another driver, you could take legal action against him or her. Typically, you have two options to recover compensation from an at-fault driver.
You can file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s policy.
You can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in California civil court.
If the driver is uninsured, the accident is a hit and run, or there are any other circumstances that prevent you from filing a claim against the driver directly, you still have options for compensation. You could file a claim under your own insurance, as long as you have the appropriate coverage.
Drivers are not the only parties who may be liable for a car accident, however. Collisions caused by poorly maintained roads, for example, usually result in litigation against the government agency responsible for maintaining that road. If an accident occurs due to a mechanical failure, it is important to identify the cause of the failure so that you can name the at-fault party.
Multiple parties may be liable for a mechanical failure, depending on the circumstances surrounding your crash. Any of the following parties may be responsible for your accident.
The driver: Drivers have a responsibility to take care of their vehicles and obtain routine maintenance when necessary. If a driver notices a problem with his or her vehicle, he or she must take the vehicle in for repairs. If the mechanical issue later causes an accident, the driver may be liable for the collision because he or she failed to obtain the necessary repairs.
The mechanic: Mechanics can commit serious errors while repairing vehicles, leading to mechanical failures and damaged parts. If a mechanic who performed repairs on the vehicle commits a negligent error, leading to the accident, he or she may be liable for the victims’ damages.
The manufacturer: In many cases, vehicle parts contain defects that either occur during the manufacturing process or are inherent in the part’s design. If a defective part causes a car accident, you can file a lawsuit against the part’s manufacturer, the distributor, the retailer, and anyone else along the chain of distribution.
To determine who to file your claim against, you will need to conduct an in-depth investigation into the collision. In these situations, you need a San Francisco car accident attorney on your side. Your lawyer can leverage the full power of his or her firm’s resources to identify the at-fault party and help you secure the compensation you deserve. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your legal options.