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When Is the Car Manufacturer at Fault for a Car Accident?

Posted in on February 6, 2020

When you think of car accidents, you usually assume that fault comes down to the drivers’. That’s not always the case. Did you know that a car manufacturer can be at fault for an accident? When is a car manufacturer at fault for an accident? Our Denver car accident attorneys explain.

When Is a Car Manufacturer at Fault for an Accident?

A car manufacturer is at fault for an accident when the accident occurs because of a defect with the vehicle. A vehicle can have a defect when it has a manufacturing error or a poor design. A vehicle can also have a defect if the manufacturer doesn’t provide adequate instructions for drivers to use the vehicle’s features properly.

It’s the driver’s job to maintain the vehicle. However, if the vehicle has a problem that is strictly the car manufacturer’s fault, the car manufacturer is at fault for the accident.

Defective Car After Accident

Are You Legally Liable for Accidents Caused by Mechanical Failures on Your Vehicles?

Whether you’re legally liable for accidents caused by mechanical failures on your vehicle depends on the reason for the mechanical failure. If the problem with the vehicle occurs because you don’t perform proper maintenance on the vehicle, including routine maintenance, yes, you’re legally liable for accidents caused by mechanical failure.

However, if the mechanical failure is the result of a manufacturing defect or poor design of the car in general, you are not liable for accidents caused by mechanical failures on your vehicle.

Colorado – Legal Liability for Car Manufacturers for Accidents

Colorado law for car accidents involving car manufacturers comes from a mix of both common law and statutes. A car manufacturer can have fault for an accident. It’s possible that neither party has fault for an accident.

Common law states the general laws of products liability in Colorado. The law states that manufacturers are liable for the products they put into the stream of commerce, including vehicles, when those products are defective and cause harm. However, the State of Colorado also has significant legislation that clarifies specific points of law.

For example, Colorado law § 13-21-403 says that when a manufacturer complies with regulations regarding their products or when they produce a product that is considered state-of-the-art at the time, they’re presumed not to have acted negligently.[1] Colorado products liability statutes cover a range of issues. To determine legal liability for car manufacturers in accidents, it’s important to look at both common law and Colorado statutes.

What Is a Defective Car?

A defective car is a vehicle that has an inherent defect. The defect is not the fault of the driver or the result of failing to perform routine maintenance. Instead, the defect occurs because something went wrong in the hands of the manufacturer.

The defect may result from a problem with the vehicle’s design. It may result from an issue with the production of a single vehicle. A defective car is a car that has a problem because of a failing on the part of the manufacturer rather than because of neglect or inaction on the part of the car’s owner.

Car Manufacturers and Car Accident Fault

Car manufacturers may play a significant role in car accident fault. Car manufacturers can’t simply produce defective vehicles and put them on the road. Instead, they have a legal obligation for the vehicles that they produce. The legal standards that apply to car manufacturers are very strict.

A car manufacturer doesn’t cause an accident by failing to stop for a stop sign or by speeding. Instead, they cause a car accident by producing a vehicle that’s defective in some way. Laws in all 50 states recognize the ability of a car manufacturer to be at fault for causing an accident by creating a defective product.

It’s the responsibility of the victim to prove the elements of the case. However, the law recognizes that the evidence may be in the hands of the car manufacturer, who isn’t likely to be in a hurry to hand it over. Therefore, the law allows you to make the presumption that the vehicle is defective simply because of the malfunction. You must still prove that the vehicle has a defect, but you don’t have to prove why it has a defect or what specifically went wrong. You must prove that the accident occurs because of the defect and that you have injuries or property damage as a result.

What to Do If You Think a Car Manufacturer May Be at Fault for an Accident

If you think a car manufacturer may be at fault for an accident, you can take steps to gather evidence and clear your name. Not only can finding out the truth help you clear your name, but you may also deserve compensation from the car manufacturer. Whether you’re defending a traffic ticket, fighting for financial compensation, or both, there are legal processes that you can use to demand answers. You can request records, question representatives from the car company, and interview witnesses under oath. You can use the evidence that you gather to prove your case.

There may be important deadlines that apply to the case. For a traffic ticket, the deadline to contest the ticket may be only a number of days. Proving your case involves proving that you’re the victim of a defective vehicle and proving what compensation you deserve based on your damages and losses.

How Can an Attorney Help Me With an Accident Based on the Car Manufacturer’s Fault?

An attorney can represent you with all of the issues resulting from the accident, including proving what happened, claiming compensation, and clearing your name if you receive a traffic ticket. An experienced attorney knows the unique issues that are involved in defective product cases when the defective product is a vehicle that caused an accident. They can ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.

Contact Our Experienced Car Accident Lawyers If You Have Been Hurt in a Defective Vehicle Crash

Call our car accident attorneys today for a free consultation about your case. If you have been injured in a crash and you believe it is the fault of a manufacturing defect, don’t delay. The injury lawyers at Bachus & Schanker, LLC, have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you represent your rights and get the compensation you need to recover.


[1] C.R.S. § 13-21-403

Kyle Bachus

Kyle opened Bachus & Schanker, with little more than a tiny, rented office and a lot of determination. Starting with less than $15,000, their business has grown into one of the largest, most well respected personal injury firms in the Colorado region. Kyle and his partner Darin Schanker are committed to understanding the circumstances confronting their clients, and ensuring that responsible parties are held accountable for damages they have caused.

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Super Lawyers - Kyle Bachus
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence
Super Lawyers - Darin Schanker
The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyer
5280 Top Lawyers of Denver
Expertise logo: best car accident lawyers in Colorado Springs