Are car manufacturers responsible if an accident is not caused by driver error?

Each year in the UK, around 250,000 road accidents are reported to insurers. While some of these are minor and only result in damage to vehicles, many people find themselves injured after a road traffic accident. Whether you are a driver or passenger, if somebody is at fault, you are entitled to make a claim for damages. This may be the driver of the car but also could be somebody else, such as the car manufacturer.

Personal injury claim

Sometimes when an accident occurs, nobody is to blame. Insurers often call these knock-for-knock accidents, and if there has been any damage to a vehicle or a person has suffered an injury, the person has to claim off their own insurance. However, if you are injured in a car crash and somebody else was responsible, you can make a personal injury claim. In many cases, this may be the driver of another car, such as if somebody has pulled out of a junction without looking, but in other instances it may be the fault of the vehicle.

Vehicle fault

While driver error is responsible for over 50% of all car accidents, sometimes it is the fault of the vehicle. Usually, the person who owns the car is responsible for its roadworthiness. For instance, if the brakes of the car are worn and damaged the owner could be held responsible for any accident the faulty brakes have caused. However, sometimes a vehicle may malfunction because it has not been built properly, has been badly designed or has been fitted with a damaged part when assembled in the factory. If this is the case, anybody suffering a personal injury may make a claim against the car manufacturer.

Vehicle recalls

Occasionally, manufacturers realise one of their models may have a design fault and will contact owners of that particular vehicle and recall it. This essentially means they will fix the fault at no cost to the car owner. However, sometimes manufacturers are unaware their vehicles are faulty, which is why it is important to get a qualified mechanic to inspect a car after an accident. If a manufacturing fault is discovered, it should be reported to the Vehicle and Operator Safety Agency (VOSA) as soon as possible, and you may be able to make a claim against the vehicle manufacturer.

 

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