There are lots of different fields of law out there, from employment law to criminal law, and there are countless legal firms and attorneys specializing in these various fields and areas, ready and able to offer the legal assistance and representation you need to deal with a wide range of situations and circumstances that could arise throughout your life.
One of the more specific fields of law is motor vehicle defects law, and this concerns cases in which defective elements or designs in your vehicle could lead to accidents, injuries, and safety threats. If a car catches on fire due to an electrical defect, for example, the owner of that vehicle may be able to make a claim under the laws regarding motor vehicle defects. This guide will go over some frequently asked questions on the subject.
What is Motor Vehicle Defects Law?
We’ll begin with a definition of what exactly motor vehicle defects law is and what this field of law covers. In simple terms, motor vehicle defects law is a part of general consumer protections law that specifically covers issues with vehicles, such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, and so on.
It is the duty of vehicle manufacturers and providers to ensure that their vehicles are safe for people to operate, and new vehicles have to undergo rigorous testing before being released for public use.
However, sometimes, defects sneak through undetected during the testing phase and some mass-produced cars or other vehicles are later found to have serious faults in their design or technology. When this happens, a motor vehicle defects case can ensue.
What Are the Rights of Vehicle Owners?
Vehicle owners have a right to expect that the vehicles they purchase are safe and non-defective. So, if their vehicle is found to have a defect, they are usually entitled to a free repair or replacement.
The dealership or manufacturer of the car may be held responsible for providing this free repair or replacement service, or the vehicle in question might need to be recalled completely and the owner may be entitled to further compensation.
There are also situations in which defects may cause actual accidents, injuries, and even deaths before they are detected. In this case, victims of such accidents may be able to collect damages from the vehicle’s manufacturer.
Are Motor Vehicle Defects Laws Covered at Federal or State Level?
Both state and federal laws can play a part in motor vehicle defect cases. Most car manufacturers have to adhere to the standards of the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which are designed to ensure that the vehicles on American roads are as safe as possible for their drivers, passengers, and other road users around them.
The NHTSA tracks and records defects, as well as issuing reports of recalls when certain models or parts are found to e defective. A lot of states also have their own specific rules and regulations on motor vehicle safety.
What Are Some Examples of Safety-Related Defects?
There are many possible defects that could occur with your vehicle which may fall under the category of being “safety-related”. Examples include:
- Defective steering components that break down, making it hard or impossible to control the direction in which the vehicle is moving.
- Fuel issues that could lead to fires and leaks of fuel.
- Wheels that may crack and break randomly, resulting in a loss of driver control. Pedals that break or stick.
- Windshield wipers that do not work correctly to clean the windshield and wipe away water and dirt.
- Seats that fail during regular use.
- Essential vehicle components or systems like brakes and transmission that break down during regular use.
- Wiring system defects that lead to a risk of electrocution, fire, or loss of light.
- Air bags that deploy unexpectedly when they should not.
- Child safety seats with defective belts or parts.
What Are Some Defects that Are Not Safety-Related?
There are also plenty of defects that may occur with cars and other vehicles which are not considered to pose a risk or threat to the safety of drivers or passengers. Examples include:
- Faulty air conditioner or heating systems
- Radios and GPS devices that do not work as intended
- Rust on the body panel
- Cosmetic issues like scratches and scuffs
- Excess oil consumption
Motor vehicle defects law can seem complicated at first, but hopefully, this guide has helped you see exactly how it works. If you have any doubts about defects with your vehicle, it’s wise to consult with an experienced lawyer in this field to find out more.