Now, here’s a question you’ve probably never asked yourself, that is, until you find that your defective vehicle caused your auto accident and the dealership could have prevented it: Could your car dealership be held liable for your South Carolina auto accident? The short answer is: Maybe. It all depends on the situation and whether or not the dealership knew about the defect or if there was a warranty.
When you buy a car, you want something that’s going to be dependable and safe. If it’s a new car, you certainly expect that this will be the case, and you hopefully have a warranty should something go wrong. If it’s a used car, you probably purchased it ‘as is,’ and you may think you don’t have the option to look to the dealership for liability. However, if the dealership knew that there was a safety issue with the vehicle, then they can still be held accountable for allowing you to drive away with it.
What Kinds of Defective Parts Might Cause A South Carolina Auto Accident?
Not all auto accidents are caused by driver error. The vast majority are, yes, but not all of them. Sometimes, the error is in the vehicle itself. Maybe nobody was driving recklessly, nobody was intoxicated, nobody was speeding. Maybe the accident just happened, out of nowhere, and you don’t even realize the cause until an investigation has been conducted to reveal the defective vehicle part.
Or, in perhaps an even more panic inducing scenario, maybe something went wrong while you were driving, something you were immediately aware of, but could do nothing about. Maybe the brakes just stopped working or something in the vehicle caught fire. Maybe you suddenly lost the ability to steer.
Malfunctioning brakes and steering systems are among the common causes of vehicle defects that cause auto accidents, as are issues with the tires, the suspension system, the transmission, and various engine problems. Some of these issues result from not properly maintaining the vehicle, though they can also be caused by parts that were defective at the time that the vehicle was sold to you.
Then, there are the cases of faulty airbags, which could either cause an accident (by going off when they’re not needed or even exploding) or cause an accident to result in more serious injuries or fatalities (by not going off at the right time or speed, or again, exploding). Some accidents are caused by defective wiring, while others are caused by defective acceleration. With all of the recalls made each year for defective vehicle parts, it should come as no surprise that many auto accidents are caused or made worse because of these kinds of issues. Yet, it is surprising, when it happens to you.
We like to think we can rely on our vehicles to get us safely from one place to the next. This is especially true when you’ve just purchased a brand new vehicle, and is also true when you’ve carefully inspected a used vehicle before you purchased it or simply trusted the dealership not to let you drive away in a vehicle that was a ticking time bomb. So, how can the dealership be held liable in such cases?
Proving Dealership Liability for a South Carolina Auto Accident
In order to hold a dealership liable for a South Carolina auto accident that occurs because of defective parts, there will need to be an investigation into whether or not the dealership knew about the defect when they sold the vehicle, even if it is a used vehicle.
The ‘as is’ agreement associated with most used vehicle transactions does not give anyone the right to knowingly sell you a dangerous vehicle. Fortunately, with the help of a South Carolina auto accident attorney, it is generally not difficult to find this evidence in the records of the vehicle’s maintenance from the dealership. There’s a good chance that someone, somewhere down the line, knew about (or should have known about) the defect or a recall.
In cases where you’ve purchased a new vehicle, it may be the manufacturer who is legally liable for the accident that occurred. The best way to pursue such a claim and ensure that the correct party is held accountable for the defective part that led to the auto accident is to contact David R. Price, Jr., P.A. for a free consultation of your case. We have the experience that you want on your side, so call today to schedule your consultation with our experienced South Carolina auto accident injury claim legal team and get started on your claim.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.