When you buy a new car, motorbike or any other type of road vehicle, you expect it to perform to a certain standard, having undergone rigorous testing to ensure it is safe to drive wherever you are in the UK.
The scary reality is that this is not always the case, and when a fault develops it can have devastating consequences for you, your passengers, pedestrians and other road users.
At Simpson Millar, we have the legal expertise to ensure you receive the justice you are entitled to if you have been injured as a result of a vehicle defect. By seeking advice, you can also help stop the same thing happening to anybody else by raising awareness of a potentially fatal problem.
What Types of Vehicle Defect can Affect My Car?
The main types of vehicle defect relate to the following areas:
Perhaps the most critical safety feature of any road vehicle, the brakes are there for a reason. That is to ensure you can slow or stop your car whenever the need arises, as failing to do this within the necessary time can result in anything from minor injury to fatalities.
Manufacturers are required to have rigorous procedures in place for testing the braking capabilities of their products, ensuring they are fail safe. It is when these standards have not been met that problems arise and vehicles with brake defects reach the hands of the consumer.
Brake defects often develop as a consequence of negligence or inferior materials being used in their production. If you have been injured because of a problem with the brakes in your vehicle, you could be entitled to compensation and should seek professional legal advice to assess your claim.
A tyre must be fit for the purpose and inflated to the correct pressure, as recommended by the manufacturer. It must also be compatible with a vehicle's other tyres, be free of cuts or tears in excess of 25mm and, for cars, have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm in a continuous band around the central 3 quarters of the tyre. This is established by law and covers all tyres, whether part worn, remoulds or brand new.
A defective tyre can cause problems with both steering and stopping your vehicle. It can also lead to a 'blow out' while driving, which could result in catastrophic consequences due to the suddenness with which it might happen.
Whether you have suffered a minor injury as a result of a tyre defect, or a serious one that has had a life changing effect on you, you may be liable for compensation and should seek advice from a specialist legal professional equipped to handle your claim.
Seat Belt Defects
Seat belts are there to save lives when the worst happens and there is a collision. They are also there to ensure you remain seated if, for any reason, you or the vehicle you are travelling in has to suddenly stop.
If a seat belt is defective in any way, whether torn, broken, or plain faulty, your safety is immediately compromised.
The seat belt should have undergone stringent tests to guarantee it performs to the standards required by law. Nevertheless, defective seat belts still make their way onto old and new vehicles alike. The consequences of a seat belt failing can range from minor injuries, through to disability or death.
Like the seat belt, the airbag is there to mitigate damage in the event of a crash while driving or travelling in a motor vehicle. They inflate extremely quickly and deflate slowly to counter the momentum that throws the human body forward when a car collides with another vehicle or stationary object, cushioning any impact that might otherwise cause injury.
A defective air bag can result in injury or death due to it not inflating when required, or inflating when there is no impact. The latter can cause road accidents or facial injuries to drivers and passengers alike.
When a vehicle fitted with air bags is released onto the market, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure that those airbags are in working order and safe for use on the roads. If a faulty airbag has caused you an injury, you might be entitled to compensation. You should contact a personal injury specialist to discuss your claim.
Other Vehicle Defects
Other reasons why the roadworthiness of a vehicle might become compromised include:
- Badly fitted parts
- Unsecured nuts
- Damaged components
- Tracking issues
All of the defects listed above would be covered by product liability law, which is in place to ensure that businesses manufacture goods that are both safe and fit for consumer use.
The Timeframe for Making a Personal Injury Claim
In the UK, if you have been injured as a result of a defective motor vehicle you have 3 years from the date of either when you sustained the injury or from when the injury was discovered, to make a personal injury claim.
If the accident occurred elsewhere in the world and you are pursuing your claim here, the time period in which to make your claim will be dependent upon the country's own statute of limitations.
Attorneys Information Exchange Group
Simpson Millar's vehicle defect specialist, Rose Gibson, is the only solicitor in the UK to be a member of the Attorneys Information Exchange Group (AIEG) – a US-based organisation dedicated to sharing highly confidential product liability information, maximising the success rate for claimants who have been injured as a result of a faulty road vehicle.
Your Next Step
If you have been injured and wish to make a claim, you should seek expert advice from a legal professional specialising in personal injury claims.
Our experience and authority in this area makes us better placed to win your claim, ensuring you get the award you are entitled to. To find out more, contact Simpson Millar today.
Contact our Catastrophic Injury Team to discuss claiming
compensation for your accident now by using the online enquiry
form and we will call you back or you can call us direct on freephone: 0808 129 3320.